Russian Federation to take a "symmetrical response" against U.S. media over RT


Russian news site and TV channel RT (formerly Russia Today) will register as a foreign agent in the U.S., complying with a request from the U.S. Department of Justice.

America's head in Washington could face arrest and the agency's accounts could be frozen if it does not register by Monday.

The Justice Department had first called for RT America to register as a foreign agent in September.

However, Russia has issued threats against Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America, which both are recipients of USA government funding.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediate and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media". She added that the application of this federal law would make "routine journalistic work impossible". The law was passed in 1938 specifically to counter fears of Nazi propaganda and misinformation being spread in the United States.

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The threat of retaliation against US media from the Kremlin is the latest in a diplomatic standoff that has resulted in both Moscow and Washington being forced to reduce embassy staff and give up diplomatic compounds. Currently, some 400 entities and individuals are registered on the list as "foreign agents", and pointedly, does not include any of the dozens of other foreign media outlets operating in the US.

"The war the US establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech".

"We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court - the demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles", Simonyan said.

"It deprives us of fair competition with other worldwide channels, which are not registered as foreign agents", she added. The FBI has since been investigating this matter. RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan described the ultimatum as a "cannibalistic deadline".

The Moscow-based broadcaster has become a focus of the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

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Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's US presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency.

It's not entirely clear how this label would apply to USA media and how it would potentially affect their work.

"Reciprocal measures will be put in place to ensure the same restrictions as the Americans are now trying to impose on Russian media outlets", Pytor Tolstoy, a deputy speaker of the Duma.

Russia has said it will begin to take a "symmetrical response" against U.S. media over measures against its broadcaster, RT (Russia Today).

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