Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against United States media could begin next week

Russian foreign ministry says retaliation against United States media could begin next week

The Russian parliament on Friday signaled that it will force some American news outlets working there to register as foreign agents. "I don't rule out it will be done next week", she said in the interview according to the state-run news wire TASS.

Russian lawmakers raced Friday to draft measures requiring U.S. media outlets and possibly social media networks to register as foreign agents, saying they could be adopted as early as next week.

Russian Federation said Thursday it could begin next week to take measures against U.S. media outlets working in Russian Federation in retaliation for a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to make the Kremlin-funded RT news agency register as a foreign agent.

RT's chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a US court.

Russia's parliament warned on Friday some USA and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing. "The demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles". The restrictions were criticized by the US and the European Union. It would require RT to label anything it produces - making it clear its reports are distributed on behalf of the Russian state.

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Russian news media and social media actors have come under scrutiny after USA intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia sought to interfere with the US presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

A senior lawmaker with the ruling United Russia party, Sergei Neverov, told reporters that the new measures could include social networks. "Our lawyers say that if we don't register as a foreign agent, the director of our company in America could be arrested, and the accounts of the company could be seized". The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

"The Russian side has repeatedly warned that any measures limiting activity of the Russian mass media in the United States will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response", the Russian embassy posted.

"The US Department of Justice wheeled out a cannibalistic Monday deadline", she tweeted. It's been revealed that Russian agents used U.S-based social media platforms to spread false information created to help boost Donald Trump's candidacy, and several people involved in President Trump's campaign are being investigated by the Justice Department over possible collusion with Russia.

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