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Russian Federation designates nine US-funded news outlets as foreign agents

06 December 2017

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

On Monday, a Duma committee moved to propose that any US media named foreign agents be banned from attending its sessions.

The affiliates include Radio Free Europe's news outlets dedicated to Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine, and a television channel run jointly by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America called Current Time TV.

The ministry further listed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and several of its affiliates, after warning last month they could be affected.

The Kremlin has said it fully understands why Russia's parliament plans to discuss banning representatives of USA media organisations in retaliation for what it calls U.S. mistreatment of Russian media. The law leaves it to the Russian Justice Ministry to single them out.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in November that allowed the government to list foreign media operating in the country, in what was claimed to be retaliation for the USA measures.

On Tuesday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quoted its president, Thomas Kent, as saying he had received no details about what the foreign agent designation will mean.

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.

On November 13, RT America registered as a foreign agent in the United States upon the demand of the US Justice Department, which according to Simonyan, put the broadcaster at a disadvantage compared to other foreign outlets working in the United States.

Klimov also restated Moscow's position that this was a "mirrored response" to the steps taken by the US Justice Department.

Russian Federation designates nine US-funded news outlets as foreign agents