Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation

Russia's President Vladimir Putin with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erogan and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Sochi Russia on Nov. 22 2017 Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation
Derrick Tucker | 28 November, 2017, 01:11

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Saturday new measures allowing authorities to list foreign media outlets as "foreign agents" in response to what Moscow says is unacceptable USA pressure on Russian media.

USA intelligence officials have accused the Kremlin of using Russian media organizations it finances to influence US voters, and Washington has since required Russian state broadcaster RT to register a USA -based affiliate company as a "foreign agent".

The bill is based on the 2012 law that forced NGOs to adopt a "foreign agent" label if they receive funding from overseas.

Russia's anti-media law is not the first time this month the country has painted groups as so-called foreign agents. Russia's new and retaliatory law went quickly into effect and can be reviewed in its entirety on Russia's legislative database. It's yet not clear if Russian Federation will target traditional US news organizations as well.

The U.S. Justice Department required RT to register in the wake of a January finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that RT and Russia's Sputnik news agency spread disinformation as part of a Russian-government effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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The Russian law classing worldwide media organisations operating in the country as "foreign agents" is a "threat to free and independent media", the European Union said on Sunday.

Within hours after the bill passed the State Duma, the Justice Ministry sent warnings to several Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news services.

File Picture: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. According to Reuters, Mr. Putin is also lashing back in part against the larger issue of the claims against Russian media for interfering with the USA presidential election.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied meddling in the election and said the restrictions on Russian broadcasters in the United States are an attack on free speech.

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