Moscow plans retaliation to "US pressure on Russian media"

Moscow plans retaliation to

Moscow plans retaliation to "US pressure on Russian media"

"What the USA authorities are doing today is an infringement of the fundamental rights of citizens and freedom of speech", Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement, reacting to Washington's demand that Russian State-funded TV station RT, also known as Russia Today, register in the United States as a foreign agent.

Last month, social media giant Twitter took the unprecedented step of banning RT and Sputnik advertisements in response to allegations they were part of a Russian effort to spread misinformation during the 2016 election.

That much was revealed by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview on Russian television. Such a registration would require any reporting to be labeled as being financed or influenced by the Russian government, among other restrictions.

Volodin's address to the Duma signaled that the Russian government now plans to treat US media in Russia as agents of the United States seeking to meddle in Russian affairs.

The Justice Department set a deadline of November 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet.

This is not the first time Russian Federation has criticized the USA for taking actions against its media outlets.

The threat of retaliation against USA 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. The restrictions were criticized by the US and the European Union. Deputy speaker Sergei Neverov said the amendments would also refer to social networks. Simonyan said that RT will comply, otherwise she could be arrested and the news outlet's accounts frozen.

Charities and other civil society groups operating in Russian Federation have to register as "foreign agents" if they get any foreign funding.

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 a year ago.

RT denies that it is an agent of the Russian government and says on its site that it offers "stories overlooked by mainstream media" and "alternative perspectives".

"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.

USA intelligence agencies in January described RT America TV as "a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, (which) has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties".

RT has been singled out as a propaganda outlet in the wake of alleged Russian meddling in the United States presidential vote. The organizations have disputed the decision.

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