Russia's Putin signs 'foreign agents' media law

Janie Parker
November 28, 2017

The letters did not specify what potential restrictions they could face, but lawmakers have said designated media could be subjected to detailed financial-reporting requirements and required to label published material as coming from a foreign agent.

In a tit-for-tat move to a demand made by the a Kremlin-funded TV channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill allowing Russia to register worldwide media outlets as foreign agents.

The bill is based on the 2012 law that forced NGOs to adopt a "foreign agent" label if they receive funding from overseas.

File Picture: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017.

The worldwide rights organization Amnesty global has said the legislation would deal a "serious blow" to media freedom in Russia, although Russian officials have said it would not apply to domestic media.

It said it had written to the US government-sponsored Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), along with seven separate Russian or local-language news outlets run by RFE/RL.

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The "foreign agents" law is in retaliation to the United States registering Moscow-controlled RT Television by the same term.

The U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were among those on the list.

In a move condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, US and other foreign media will have to present themselves as foreign agents on all paperwork and submit to intensive scrutiny of staffing and financing. It's yet not clear if Russian Federation will target traditional US news organizations as well.

"RT and Sputnik distribute freely in the USA, whereas RFE/RL has lost its broadcast affiliates in Russian Federation due to administrative pressures, and has no access to cable", it said.

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.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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