Image by Andreas Bohnenstengel
In response to pressure being applied to Russian state media channel RT, and others in the United States, the Kremlin has declared it may enforce a legal crackdown on American media in-country and possibly force outlets to register as ‘foreign agents’. Letters were recently received by certain media inside Russia, including RFEFL.
The Russian justice ministry sent letters to “a number of US media operating in Russia” warning them of the “unacceptability of breaching Russian law,” its press service said in a statement quoted by Interfax news agency. It said the letter was “a tit-for-tat measure in response to the persecution of Russian media in the United States,” reported AFP.
AFP reported a source saying US media received “an official letter informing them of upcoming changes in Russian legislation about the broadening of the list of NGOs that can be named ‘foreign agents.'”
RT and another Russian website, Sputnik, have been directed to register as ‘foreign agents’ under the FARA law passed during the Second World War in the United States.
Russia and the U.S. have been engaged in a diplomatic skirmish that has only intensified since President Obama expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed several Russian diplomatic properties in the United States after allegations of Russian cyber attacks during the 2016 presidential election. The pressure seems to be ramping up under the Trump administration with additional measures being taken by both sides.
Russia was particularly upset with the American search of its trade mission in Washington, D.C. and the consulate in San Francisco, both of which are now closed.