Russian News Site RT To Register As Foreign Agent After US Request

Russian News Site RT To Register As Foreign Agent After US Request

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said on Thursday Russia was considering hitting the USA for the deadline.

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.

"It contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles".

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, said Friday he had ordered a committee to develop a counter-response "to allow us to take steps to protect the citizens of our country and our country itself from overt interference" of United States media in Russian Federation. Such a registration would require any reporting to be labeled as being financed or influenced by the Russian government, among other restrictions.

Simonyan said the head of RT's USA subsidiary risked detention and the organization's bank accounts could be frozen if it didn't register. "I don't rule out it will be done next week", she told state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24, according to comments reported by the Russian news outlet Tass.

"Our law on foreign agents does not apply to media".

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Last month, Russian officials sent letters to news organizations in Russia that are backed by the US government, warning them of possible "restrictions". The restrictions were criticized by the USA and the European Union.

The government of Russian Federation in a tit-for-tat response to U.S.

Pyotr Tolstoy, a deputy speaker of the State Duma, suggested that one possibility is that media outlets affected by the new law could be required to include a statement identifying themselves as foreign agents on their social media pages.

Last Thursday, Twitter announced it would drop advertising by RT and Sputnik-owned accounts on its network due to their alleged meddling in the USA presidential election previous year.

RT, previously known as Russia Today, disputes that it is an agent of the Kremlin, arguing that it merely offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage.

"The Russian side has repeatedly warned that any measures limiting activity of the Russian mass media in the United States will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response", the Russian embassy posted. Memorial, one of Russia's oldest human rights groups, which has for three decades sought to expose Soviet mass killings and arrests, and the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, were registered as foreign agents by Russia's Ministry of Justice.

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