Russian Federation is preparing to retaliate against United States media after Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT was told to register in the USA as a "foreign agent". "The demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles". "It deprives us of fair competition with other global channels, which are not registered as foreign agents".
Amid continued controversy about Russia's role in trying to influence last year's USA presidential election, Twitter last month banned advertising by RT and by the state-funded Sputnik news agency.
"Every media now has its own pages in social networks, which also publish their news, articles and videos". Such a registration would require any reporting to be labeled as being financed or influenced by the Russian government, among other restrictions.
RT denies that it is an agent of the Russian government and says on its site that it offers "stories overlooked by mainstream media" and "alternative perspectives".
On Thursday, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the upper house's Commission on Information Policy and Interaction with Media, held a meeting to discuss the USA move and possible retaliatory steps, a Federation Council statement said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he would sign such a law last month, when he told a conference of foreign policy scholars that Russia would respond immediately and reciprocally to "any efforts to limit our mass media".More news: Aly Raisman says she was sexually abused by U.S. national team doctor
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The measures could include sanctions on US mass media "beginning with labelling their production as foreign agents and ending with suspension or termination of their activities".
The Duma earlier this year launched an investigation into whether CNN, Voice of America, Radio Liberty and "other American media" were complying with Russian law.
"The US Department of Justice wheeled out a cannibalistic Monday deadline", she tweeted.
US intelligence agencies in January described RT America TV as "a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, (which) has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged USA shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties". The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a news briefing that Russia was now considering retaliatory measures against USA media outlets. Memorial, one of Russia's oldest human rights groups, which has for three decades sought to expose Soviet mass killings and arrests, and the Levada Center, an independent polling agency, were registered as foreign agents by Russia's Ministry of Justice.