Moscow, Nov 14 : Russian lawmakers are poised to approve a legislation that will allow the government to register media outlets that receive international funding as foreign agents, a Duma spokesman said on Tuesday.
The move, announced by the lower Parliament’s deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, followed shortly after the US Department of Justice pressured Russian broadcaster RT to register as a foreign agent due to its links to the Kremlin, meaning it will now have to report on its activities, including any funding from Moscow, Efe news reported.
“If you receive money from a foreign government and publish information in Russian territory, you must admit it openly and honestly,” Tolstoy told state TV, insisting that the measures had nothing to do with freedom of expression.
Several outlets have already been flagged up as potential foreign agents by Russian legislators, including the American TV channel CNN, radio stations Voice of America and Radio Liberty, and German company Deutsche Welle.
Foreign-funded companies that refuse to register as such will be forced to end Russian operations, Tolstoy added.
Moscow’s reaction was the latest in a tit-for-tat debacle over the role that Russian media plays in disseminating Kremlin propaganda in Europe and the US, the report said.
RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and Sputnik new agency, have been accused of spreading false news in a bid to sow discord in the internal affairs of foreign nations, including during the US presidential campaign of 2016.
The Russian broadcaster, which provides services in English, Spanish and Arabic, denies such allegations.