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Russia could target any foreign media under new law: MP

AFP  |  Moscow 

would be able to list any foreign media outlet as a "foreign agent" under new measures expected to be approved tomorrow, a lawmaker said, as Moscow responds to US pressure on the Kremlin-backed RT channel.

The move comes as fights what it calls a barrage of "fake news" from Russian media and online outlets aimed at interfering in US domestic politics.

is set to approve a set of amendments to an existing media bill tomorrow, meaning they could go into force as early as next week, deputy speaker of Russia's lower house of Pyotr Tolstoy told Rossiya 24 channel.

"(The law) gives the relevant institution the opportunity to classify media outlets that receive money from abroad as foreign agents," he said, when asked which outlets are likely to be put on the list first.

Most likely the list will be maintained by the ministry of justice, which already keeps a similar of non- governmental organisations which have been designated as "foreign agents".

The bill is a tit-for-tat response to Washington's move to register T&R Productions LLC, a corporation which operates US studios of state channel RT, as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Asked to clarify exactly who could be listed as a "foreign agent" in Russia, Tolstoy said "these are media outlets that receive money from foreign governments regardless of their ownership structure".

TASS agency however published details of more sweeping amendments, according to which the measures could apply to any media outlets receiving money "from international and foreign organisations, foreign citizens."

Tolstoy said outlets that are put on the list will be subject to similar treatment as "foreign agent" NGOs under the that was adopted in 2012.

Such media will "have to file the relevant reports and most likely mark its product," he said.

The applying to NGOs forced many organisations to close.

Others have complained that institutions refuse to work with them following the acquisition of the "foreign agent" label, which in is akin to being branded a spy.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 14 2017. 19:32 IST