Washington demands that RT should register as foreign agent by November 13

Mikhail Fomichev  TASS

Mikhail Fomichev TASS

Russian Federation ripped the USA government on Thursday for requiring its state-sponsored news organization RT to register as a foreign agent, warning of "an immediate symmetrical response".

"When it comes down to a fight with no rules, when the law is twisted and turned into an instrument for the destruction of a TV company, every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response", she said.

Volodin said Russian Federation could extend its own law on foreign agents to foreign media in response to Washington's "hostile" actions.

The Justice Department set a deadline of November 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet.

A Russian senator involved in media policy, Alexei Pushkov, said those United States media organisations "should be subject to restrictions, including their services as part of cable TV packages". He stressed that foreign agent status could be very unsafe for RT staff and all those who interact with this TV channel.

Russian news media and social media actors have come under scrutiny after USA intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia sought to interfere with the US presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

It was not clear how this label would apply to USA media and how it would potentially affect their work, or how many media outlets would be affected.

USA and any other foreign media that fall under the new restrictions could have to regularly disclose to Russian authorities full details of their funding, finances and staffing and might be obliged to say on their social media profiles and internet sites visible in Russia that they are "foreign agents".

She added: "We will continue to work and continue to fight this as long as it's possible".

"Reciprocal measures will be put in place to ensure the same restrictions as the Americans are now trying to impose on Russian media outlets", Tolstoy said.

In a statement posted to its Facebook account Thursday night, the Russian Embassy in the United States said the Justice Department's decision "created a risky precedent".

Last Thursday, Twitter announced it would drop advertising by RT and Sputnik-owned accounts on its network due to their alleged meddling in the USA presidential election previous year.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment to The Post on Thursday.

In its January report, USA intelligence called RT "the Kremlin's principal global propaganda outlet", saying it was part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine", which had "contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging". The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

That much was revealed by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview on Russian television. The organizations have disputed the decision.

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