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Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation

28 November 2017

When they finally did register, RT acknowledged that its parent company, ANO TV-Novosti, was funded by the Russian government "to a substantial extent", but that the network was "not sufficiently aware of who supervises, owns, directs, controls or subsidizes ANO TV-Novosti" to actually detail those foreign ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to allow his government to list any worldwide media operating in the country as a "foreign agent" in retaliation towards the United States government's tirade against Russian broadcaster RT. While McDonald's has routinely come under scrutiny in Russia, Mr. Putin's retaliation has broad implications for many American and worldwide interests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a law that would designate worldwide media outlets as foreign agents. The law is intended as direct retaliation for the new US requirement that the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department - which the website and television channel finally did earlier this month.

The measure would require RT to label anything it produces, making it clear its reports will be distributed on behalf of the Russian state.

The law was fast-tracked through parliament during the past two weeks, and allows Moscow to force foreign media to brand their news content as the work of "foreign agents".

The new law was published on Russia's official legal information Internet portal on November 25.

Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly denied meddling in the election, and claim the DOJ's pressure on Russian broadcasters is an attack on free speech.

"The "foreign agent" legislation goes against Russia's human rights obligations and commitments, and the extension of its scope to foreign media..." Mr. Putin's adverse reaction to the requirements placed on the RT network mark an uptick in hostility between powers.

In a November 15 statement, RFE/RL said the "situation regarding Russian media in the US and USA media in Russia remains vastly unequal".

Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation