In response to US, Putin signs bill targeting foreign media

In response to US, Putin signs bill targeting foreign media

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Saturday new measures allowing authorities to list foreign media outlets as "foreign agents" in response to what Moscow says is unacceptable USA pressure on Russian media.

Under the new law, any media outlet operating in Russian Federation and funded by a foreign state may be designated a foreign agent by the Justice Ministry.

USA authorities accused Russian media outlets of influencing public opinion during the 2016 presidential election by spreading fake news.

Strongly criticised by the NGOS Human Rights Watch and Amnesty worldwide, the law compels such entities to provide information to authorities about their financial situation and to specify in the documents that they produce they are classified as such. The U.S.government had singled out RT because it accepted operating payments from a Russian government entity called ANO TV-Novosti.

The Russian State Duma passed the bill on November 15.

"Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the US government or public on behalf of foreign principals", acting assistant attorney general for National Security Dana J. Boente said in a statement at the time that RT registered.

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. RT's editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media.