Vladimir Putin Signs Bill Targeting International Media Outlets

28 November, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Rosa Wright
  • Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation

In a November 15 statement, RFE/RL said the "situation regarding Russian media in the US and USA media in Russia remains vastly unequal".

The amendments on foreign media went into effect after President Vladimir Putin signed off on them on Saturday, allowing Russian authorities to label outlets as "foreign agents" for receiving funding from overseas. The law is intended as direct retaliation for the new us requirement that the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department - which the website and television channel finally did earlier this month.

Exactly how (or if) these dueling "foreign agent" designations will actually affect news outlets operating in the USA or Russian Federation is not yet clear. It also forces news platforms like Reuters to provide the Russian government with funding sources.

The U.S. government took action after intelligence services identified that RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was spreading false information during the 2016 presidential election.

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The Russian law classing global media organisations operating in the country as "foreign agents" is a "threat to free and independent media", the European Union said on Sunday. Russian officials have went as far as to spin the Justice Department's requirement as an attack on free speech. "We congratulate American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it", Simonyan said Monday on Twitter shortly after the DOJ applied pressure.

Per the new Russian law, any media organization operating in Russia that receives financial support from foreign organizations or governments can now be designated a foreign agent, depending on the judgment of the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Russia's anti-media law is not the first time this month the country has painted groups as so-called foreign agents.

Almost 30 environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are being forced to submit waves of reports to the government or face fines for noncompliance, according to a November 22 report from Human Rights Watch.

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