Russian Parliament To Bar US Media Named Foreign Agents

Russian Parliament To Bar US Media Named Foreign Agents

Russian Parliament To Bar US Media Named Foreign Agents

The moves come as Moscow follows through on its promise to retaliate for similar USA actions against the English-language Russian network RT, which Russian leaders characterise as an assault on freedom of the press.

Zakharova did not specify which specific media outlets would be banned, out of the 23 US media outlets which are now accredited by Russia's Foreign Ministry. Among those are Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Current Time TV, which is run jointly by the previous two.

In a video statement, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Tom Kent said it was unclear how the organisation would be affected by the moves and that it would "study carefully" communications from Russian Federation.

Russian lawmakers said the legislation was in retaliation for U.S. action against the U.S. affiliates of Russian state-sponsored media RT and Sputnik, which were required to register under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

"We didn't start this theatre of the absurd", Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Monday at a Duma hearing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law last month the measures in response to what Moscow says is unacceptable U.S. pressure on Russian media.

"We remain committed to continuing our journalistic work in the interest of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian speaking audience", he said.

Voice of America and Radio Free Europe were created during the cold war to broadcast news to the closed societies of the Soviet Union and the communist countries in its orbit.

In the USA, a committee governing Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists withdrew credentials for Russia's state-funded RT television after it complied with a US demand that it register as a foreign agent.

At the same time, Zakharova added that Russian Federation "is particularly determined to maintain constructive relations with the United States".

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