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11 November 2017, 01:22 | Myrtle Vega
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Alexei Nikolsky AP
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a news briefing that Russia was now considering retaliatory measures against USA media outlets.
Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of RT, said in a statement that she regarded the requirement as contrary to law and the company meant to challenge it in court. "This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts both the principles of democracy and freedom of speech", she said.
Sergei Neverov, parliamentary head of the pro-Kremlin party United Russia, said "we'll not just draft proposals, but a commission will work out broader measures, which may include social media networks".
The U.S. Department of Justice has ordered the broadcaster's American division to register under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) before Nov.13.
On Thursday, RT Managing Director Alexey Nikolov said at a meeting of the Provisional Commission of Russia's Federation Council (upper house of parliament) on Information Policy and Media Interaction that he had not registered as a foreign agent in the USA within the period of time set by the United States authorities.
The Duma earlier this year launched an investigation into whether CNN, Voice of America, Radio Liberty and "other American media" were complying with Russian law.
The threat of retaliation against US media from the Kremlin is the latest in a diplomatic standoff that has resulted in both Moscow and Washington being forced to reduce embassy staff and give up diplomatic compounds.
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US intelligence agencies said in January that RT and the news agency Sputnik, along with a network of "quasi-government trolls", interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election on behalf of the Russian government by pushing anti-American propaganda, claims that RT denies.
"These are not media, but propaganda tools with 100 percent funding from the USA budget", Pushkov was quoted as saying.
Russian Federation will adopt "broader" measures which "may include social media networks", a top pro-Kremlin MP said. "Between those consequences and registering as a foreign agent, we are forced to choose registration".
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media".
"... While RT is able to work and distribute its content freely in the U.S., RFE/RL has lost all of its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressure, it has no access to cable TV, and its reporters are beaten and harassed", Levison said in an emailed comment. Groups on the list are subject to tight scrutiny by officials and must place the words "foreign agent" on all their publications, a label that recalls Soviet-era denunciations of spies and fifth-columnists.
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