Russian State Duma Bans 'Foreign Agent' Journalists

Russian State Duma Bans 'Foreign Agent' Journalists

Russian State Duma Bans 'Foreign Agent' Journalists

Moscow applied the controversial '"foreign agent" label to a total of nine media outlets on Tuesday, including the US' official foreign broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), the US-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and seven other local outlets ran by the European-based network.

5 December 2017Russia has declared Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and several affiliated media outlets "foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent".

Russian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to ban US media labelled as "foreign agents" from accessing the lower house of parliament in response to the US Congress stripping state channel RT of its credentials.

US officials protest the validity of Russia's actions, saying the Russian Federation law is far more stringent than FARA, and that Russian Federation uses its foreign agent legislation to silence opposing opinions and independent media, RFE/RL says.

Rights groups fear the law could have a chilling effect on the ability of outlets to carry out independent reporting.

Under that law, "foreign agents" must include in any information they publish or broadcast to Russian audiences a mention of their "foreign agent" designation. "We call on the Justice Ministry to immediately reverse its anti-press action and to allow a free flow of news in the country".

The 2012 law previously applied only to non-governmental organisations that had global funding.

They can be subject to spot checks by the authorities to make sure they comply with the rules, according to the 2012 law, which has forced some NGOs to close.

The new designation subjects affected US -backed news outlets to the same requirements that are applied to foreign-funded non-governmental organisations under a 2012 law.

On Monday, a committee at the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, proposed banning any USA media named as foreign agents from its meetings, the Washington Post reported.

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