Global

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

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

"The American Justice Department has left us with no choice, " RT's editor in chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement posted on the organization's website Thursday. It would require RT to label anything it produces - making it clear its reports are distributed on behalf of the Russian state.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, said Friday he had ordered a committee to develop a counter-response "to allow us to take steps to protect the citizens of our country and our country itself from overt interference" of U.S. media in Russian Federation.

The Russian media outlets would have to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires persons acting in "political or quasi-political capacity" for foreign interests to disclose information, funding and activities.

"This requirement is discriminatory, it contradicts the principles of democracy and freedom of speech, it does not give us equal competition with other foreign TV channels that work in America without being registered as foreign agents", she said.

"It deprives us of fair competition with other global channels, which are not registered as foreign agents", said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

Russian influence in the US has come under increasing scrutiny in the months following the 2016 presidential elections. "Since such decisions are being made on USA territory in relation to our TV channels, it will be right for us to respond to these actions".

Russian Federation will adopt "broader" measures which "may include social media networks", a top pro-Kremlin MP said.

In case of failure to comply with this demand within this period of time, the bank accounts of RT America can be frozen, while its head could face arrest.

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".

RT has become a focus of the United States investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Justice Department declined to comment to The Associated Press. It's been revealed that Russian agents used U.S-based social media platforms to spread false information created to help boost Donald Trump's candidacy, and several people involved in President Trump's campaign are being investigated by the Justice Department over possible collusion with Russia.

On Thursday, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the upper house's Commission on Information Policy and Interaction with Media, held a meeting to discuss the US move and possible retaliatory steps, a Federation Council statement said.