Russian Broadcaster RT's US Contractor Files as Foreign Agent

Russian Broadcaster RT's US Contractor Files as Foreign Agent

The U.S. Department of Justice had given RT until Monday to register its operations or face legal action, RT said.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said last week that the U.S. sanctions against RT should prompt similar measures against American mass media and its "unconcealed interference" in Russia's internal politics.

Fraying relations between Washington and Moscow mean that a further escalation could follow with the Russian foreign ministry refusing to rule out the expulsion of Moscow-based foreign correspondents from publishers such as The Washington Post and New York Times.

The laws regulating foreign agent status for mass media in Russian Federation could be amended by the lower house of parliament as early as this Wednesday, Deputy Duma Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy has told the press. RT has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Russian Federation.

"Between a criminal case and registration, we chose the latter".

"The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing FARA and expects compliance with the law by all entities engaged in specified activities on behalf of any foreign principal, regardless of its nationality".

Intelligence agencies have suspected RT of meddling in the 2016 presidential election between President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, according to Reuters. "We congratulate American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it", Simonyan said on Twitter. Under the act, RT will be required to disclose financial information.

FARA requires detailed disclosures of the activities of individuals and organizations that attempt to influence US policy or public opinion for foreign governments and government-controlled organizations.

Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of Russia's Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists Thursday that the Department of Justice is playing a "dirty political game" by targeting "selected" Russian media outlets.

Russian officials, according to The Daily Beast, accused the USA of pressuring RT into Monday's filing.

FARA, which Congress passed in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda, is meant "to ensure that the American public and our lawmakers know the source of information that is provided at the behest of a foreign principal, where that information may be intended to influence USA public opinion, policy and laws", the DOJ said in its statement. FARA was first passed in 1938 in the lead up to World War Two in an effort to combat German propaganda efforts.

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