Russia May Classify Media Outlets Funded From Abroad as Foreign Agents – MP

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The deputy speaker of the Russia’s lower house of parliament, Pyotr Tolstoy, suggested introducing the new amendments to the Russian legislation that could mark media outlets operating in Russia but funded from abroad as foreign agents.

Besides, if foreign media refused to register as foreign agents they would be subject to the provisions of the relevant legislation about the nonprofit organization, he added.

The State Duma would adopt the amendments on Wednesday and would later hand them to the Federation Council.

READ MORE: Russian State Duma to Draft Bill Including Media in Foreign Agents Law

Moreover, Leonid Levin, the head of the State Duma’s Committee on information policy, told reporters that the amendments can be regarded only as the response to the US authorities’ actions.

“The adopted framework amendments will have to note in common with the attitude toward the press freedom and foreign media operation in Russia. It is all about what the bill is… a reciprocal act in regards to the activities of the US authorities in terms of the Russian media. This is the key and the main cause of these activities,” Levin told reporters.

Meanwhile, he added that the Russian side would like to see “as little media as possible” in such a list.

Andrei Klimov, the head of the Federation Council’s commission on the protection of state sovereignty, said that his commission hoped to receive the proposals from the State Duma next week. After the Federation Council’s approval, the document would be handed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to “provide him with a possibility to sign the relevant regulations and to implement our recommendations.”

READ MORE: Russian Upper House to Start Work on ‘Black Book’ of Foreign Meddling Cases — MP

The RT broadcaster and the Sputnik news agency have faced significant pressure in recent months because of US lawmakers’ and Intelligence Community’s allegations of the interfering in the internal affairs, including the 2016 presidential election. However, both media outlets along with the Russian authorities have repeatedly dismissed the US allegations as unfounded.

In October, the Federation Council’s temporary commission released a report saying that in 2018 and in 2019 the United States would allocate $250 million for the needs of containment of Russia. The lawmakers mentioned that the media outlets and social networks could be used to discredit Russia’s institutions and political leaders ahead of the Russian presidential elections. The next presidential vote in Russia is scheduled for March 2018.

© Sputnik/ Konstantin Rodikov

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