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Russian Parliament Mulls Response to US Move on Broadcaster

  • VOA News

FILE - employees of the "Russia Today" television channel prepare for a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Russia Today's new headquarters in Moscow, Russia.

Russian officials say Moscow will adopt new legislation next week requiring U.S. journalists to register as foreign agents.

The announcement Friday came as a response to what Russia says is a new U.S. requirement that the American division of Russia's state-funded RT television channel registers as a foreign agent in the United States.

RT said on Friday it will comply with the request to register under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. But a spokeswoman with the Russian government said it may challenge the move in court.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslave Volodin said officials now plan to change Russian laws on foreign agents by extending it to cover the media operating in Russia.

Asked Thursday about registering under FARA, a State Department official told VOA that doing so does not affect or impede an organization's ability to report.

U.S. intelligence officials consider RT a propaganda arm tied to the Russian government, but RT says it offers objective news coverage in the United States.

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, said on Thursday that U.S. Justice Department officials had given it until November 13 to register under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. RT said it had been notified that failure to do so could lead to closure of the American RT division.

In a statement on its Facebook page late Thursday, the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. said the Justice Department's move could set "a dangerous precedent" for future relations between Washington and Moscow.

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