In a global tit-for-tat, Moscow on Friday said it’s planning to restrict American media working in Russia in retaliation for the Department of Justice forcing a Russian English-language TV channel to register as a foreign agent in the U.S.
State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said in an online statement that lawmakers in Russia will push for changes with regard to foreign agent registration and extend that to American media outlets there.
“Our law on foreign agents doesn’t apply to media but since they are taking such measures against our channels in the U.S., we should respond to these unfriendly acts,” Volodin said.
Among those targeted could be CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty.
In the U.S., RT America, formerly known as Russia Today, was given until Monday by the Trump administration to register as a foreign agent or risk having its accounts frozen and the head of the channel arrested.
In a statement posted on RT’s website Thursday, Editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan blasted the DOJ's demands but said it would comply.
“Our lawyers say that if we don’t register as a foreign agent, the director of our company in America could be arrested, and the accounts of the company could be seized,” Simonyan said. “In short, in this situation the company would not be able to work. Between those consequences and registering as a foreign agent, we are forced to choose registration.’’
RT’s registration as a foreign agent follows a lengthy back-and-forth with the DOJ over whether it was required by law to register as an agent of the Russian government.
RT has long-claimed it’s not a Russian propaganda machine but instead says it offers an alternative to mainstream media.