Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Russian Federation labels Voice of America and Radio Free Europe as 'foreign agents'

Russian Federation labels Voice of America and Radio Free Europe as 'foreign agents'

USA officials protest the validity of Russia's actions, saying the Russian Federation law is far more stringent than FARA, and that Russian Federation uses its foreign agent legislation to silence opposing opinions and independent media, RFE/RL says.

The moves come as Moscow follows through on its promise to retaliate for similar U.S. actions against the English-language Russian network RT, which Russian leaders characterise as an assault on freedom of the press.

Russia's justice ministry will start registering some foreign media as "foreign agents" this week, the RIA news agency reports, citing a source in the Russian upper house of parliament.

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"The list includes American propaganda companies that live on government money and broadcast in the Russian language", Klimov said, adding that CNN was not on the list because it was not "a propaganda company".

The ministry further listed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and several of its affiliates, after warning last month they could be affected.

US intelligence officials accused the Kremlin of using Russian media it finances to influence USA voters, and Russian state broadcaster RT last month reluctantly complied with a US request to register a USA -based affiliate as a "foreign agent" under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. "We call on the Justice Ministry to immediately reverse its anti-press action and to allow a free flow of news in the country". The Russian government recently designated a union of truckers protesting highway tolls as a foreign agent. Russian lawmakers rushed through the necessary legislation last month and President Vladimir Putin signed off on it on November 25.

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"We remain committed to continuing our journalistic work in the interest of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian speaking audience", he said.

The document recommends that legislatures in Russian regions adopt similar bans against Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and their affiliates.

Russian officials have called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as US pressure on Russian media.

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