Moscow plans retaliation to "US pressure on Russian media"

11 November, 2017, 01:24 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

Nikolov noted that foreign agent status implies a wide range of measures by the U.S. authorities, but no one knows what exactly can follow after this status is acquired.

"It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents", said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

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". "We consider its demand as a wish to eliminate an alternative source of information, which is an unacceptable violation of the global norms of free press", the statement said.

Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's USA presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency.

The Department of Justice originally set a November 13 deadline for RT to register as a foreign agent in the wake of the federal and congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

"All actions of American media outlets indicate that their policy and positions are totally unfriendly and that this interference is absolutely undisguised", Volodin said.

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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.

Earlier this month, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Moscow was preparing "a surprise" in response to pressure on Russian media outlets in the United States. The restrictions were criticized by the US and the European Union.

"When it comes down to a fight with no rules, when the law is twisted and turned into an instrument for the destruction of a TV company, every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response", she said. Such a registration would require any reporting to be labeled as being financed or influenced by the Russian government, among other restrictions.

"... 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. "It deprives us of fair competition with other global channels, which are not registered as foreign agents".

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".

In a statement posted to its Facebook account Thursday night, the Russian Embassy in the United States said the Justice Department's decision "created a unsafe precedent".

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