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

RT disputes that it is an agent of the Russian government arguing that it offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage

RT complained that it acquiesced to USA demands to register as a "foreign agent" only under duress, fearful that its director of channel operations in the United States could be arrested if it failed to comply.

As the pressure on Russian media outlets operating in the US grows amid allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, RT America registered as a foreign agent on Monday as per the US Justice Department's request.

"Faced with a choice between a criminal case and registration, we opted for the latter", a report on RT homepage quoted her.

In a USA intelligence report on alleged Russian interference issued last January, RT was identified as an arm of Russia's state-run propaganda machine that favored President-elect Donald Trump and provided negative coverage of Hillary Clinton.

According to the DOJ, FARA requires public disclosure of certain activities and relationships through registration by "agents of foreign principals" with the Justice Department. Under the act, RT will be required to disclose financial information. "For which we congratulate American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it".

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RT had opposed the registration, arguing that it would hinder its work in the US and force it to make public information, including employees' addresses and salaries.

Foreign government-owned news organizations, including China Daily, the English-language newspaper owned by China's government, register under FARA.

The filing, on behalf of T&R Productions, the company that operates RT, said it had received payments from a foreign principal identified as ANO TV-Novosti, a Russian media company. RT has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Russian Federation.

Moscow meanwhile said measures requiring U.S. media outlets to register as foreign agents could be passed by the Russian parliament as early as Wednesday.

US government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), CNN and Germany's Deutsche Welle could all be affected by the retaliatory measures, a senior Russian lawmaker said earlier on Monday.

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