In a statement on the Facebook, the Russian embassy accused the US of “double standards” due to Washington’s demand that the Russian TV channel RT register as a foreign agent.
“Our signals have been ignored. The RT affiliates in the US have still been given an ultimatum to register as foreign agents by November 13… The RT team’s journalistic work in the US has already been disrupted” the diplomats’ statement reads. In their opinion, the American authorities have “set a dangerous precedent”.
In its statement, the embassy calls the TV channel a “source of alternative information”, and says that Washington’s actions violate the international norms of the free press. Russia claims that Moscow has not yet required foreign media outlets with news produced in the US to register as foreign agents.
In September the US Department of Justice demanded that a company which provides services for RT America register as a foreign agent. Chief RT editor Margarita Simonyan called the registration deadline “cannibalistic” and threatened to take response measures. Russia’s official Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also said that such actions and the infringement of freedom of speech in the US are unacceptable.
Publication The Hill observes that the law which could force media in the US to register as foreign agents was adopted during World War II. Washington can use the law if the US authorities have evidence that the media are engaging in propagandist activities, not news.
At the start of October, the Department of Justice warned American public media of the possibility of being added to the list of foreign agents. Warning letters were received by the Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and the projects associated with them.