As the pressure on Russian media outlets operating in the US grows amid allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, RT America registered as a foreign agent on Monday as per the US Justice Department’s request.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, instructed on Friday the parliament’s information policy committee to work out measures that would present adequate respose to the situation with the RT broadcaster in the United States. The draft amendments, which will expand Russia’s norms on the so-called foreign agents to media outlets, should be prepared by the State Duma by Tuesday morning, and are expected to be passed this week, the source in the lower house told Sputnik on Monday.
Moreover, on Friday, Ivan Melnikov, the first deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, said foreign media outlets would be included in the Russian law on “foreign agents,” adding that corresponding amendments would be made next week.
“The second stage is the establishment of a commission at a separate decree of the Duma headed by Pyotr Tolstoy, and there we will have to tackle, first of all, the Internet. It is still not clear how to deal with interference via the Internet. There are no ready-made solutions, but the commission should look into the issue, examine the existing experience,” the source added.
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Meanwhile, the statements come amid US pressure on Russian media outlets, with the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stating that the US request for the RT broadcaster to register as a foreign agent undermined the freedom of the press. RT and Sputnik have faced significant pressure over the past months over the concern of US lawmakers and intelligence community that the broadcaster could have been involved in attempts to influence US public life, including 2016 presidential election. Both outlets, as well as the Russian authorities, have repeatedly dismissed these allegations as unfounded.