The pressure on Russian media outlets operating in the US is still high amid allegations of interfering in the internal affairs of the country, resulting in RT America being forced to register as a foreign agent last week. However, Russian officials have already taken reciprocal measures.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow is ready to amend its law on recognizing some non-Russian media as foreign agents if the US is willing to back down on its policy targeting Russian media, the head of the Federation Council’s commission on the protection of state sovereignty, Andrey Klimov, told Sputnik on Tuesday.
“If [the United States] changes the policy and returns back to normal cooperation on the issue, we will take corresponding measures. We can revise some of our decisions because these were responsive measures,” Klimov said. However, according to him, Russia would impose tougher measures against foreign media if pressure on Russian outlets abroad increased.
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On November 25, President Vladimir Putin signed amendments to the law that would allow foreign media funded from abroad to be labeled as foreign agents in Russia, which had been previously approved by both chambers of the Russian parliament.
RT and the Sputnik news agency have faced significant pressure in the United States over the past few months, with US lawmakers and intelligence community claiming that the broadcaster may have been involved in Russia’s alleged attempts to influence US 2016 presidential election. However, RT and Sputnik, as well as Russian authorities have repeatedly refuted the allegations as unsubstantiated. On November 13, RT America registered as a foreign agent in the United States under Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) upon the request of the US Justice Department. On November 15, the Russian State Duma unanimously passed a bill in response to the recent actions in relation to RT America and Sputnik. On November 22, the Russian Upper House approved the “foreign agent” Media Law, with 154 lawmakers voting in favor of the draft law.