Russians advance foreign-media steps
MOSCOW — Russian lawmakers submitted legal amendments Tuesday that would allow the government to register international media outlets as foreign agents, a retaliatory move to a demand the U.S. made to a Russian TV channel.
The amendments, which are set to be voted on today, came after the Russian state-funded RT registered with the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent after pressure from the U.S. government.
U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia has denied any interference.
The amendments under consideration in Russia were proposed by lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature. Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said the revisions would give the Justice Ministry authority to register foreign media outlets as foreign agents.
After the registration, the news outlets would be subject to requirements that already apply to foreign-funded nongovernmental organization under a 2012 law on foreign agents.
The law requests all groups that receive foreign funding and engage in vaguely defined political activities to register as foreign agents. Critics of the law have said the definition of political activity is so loose that it could be used against almost any nongovernmental organization.
The law was approved after a slew of anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow in 2011-2012. President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of instigating them.