Russian Lawmaker Suggests Moscow May Classify CNN as Foreign Agent

After RT America had to comply with US demands to register under FARA, Moscow was forced to prepare a symmetrical response to pressure on Russian media.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Federation Council lawmaker Oleg Morozov has told Sputnik that three projects of Radio Svoboda, Russian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as CNN could be recognized as foreign agents in Russia.

READ MORE: Russian State Duma Adopts Foreign Agent Bill for Media as Response to US Actions

However, according to Alexey Pushkov, the head of Russia’s Federation Council commission on information policy, Russian restrictive measures in response to RT America's forced registration as a foreign agent in the United States in the wake of the Justice Department's demand are unlikely to target CNN, though from the legal point of view the broadcaster is subject to the Foreign Agent Law.

Lawmakers have stressed that adoption of the amendments to the Foreign Agent Law is a symmetrical response to the pressure on Russian media in the US.

Russia Today channel - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday, the State Department official said that Washington was thoroughly monitoring the developments around the amendments to the Russian law on foreign agents. Referring to the registration of RT America as a foreign agent under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the State Department official noted that the FARA provided for transparency without limiting the freedom of press.

Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commenting on the words of the US official said that by adopting a law Moscow was learning transparency from US colleagues and that the State Department, "which has been telling us [Russia] what to do for such a long period of time", should be "happy" about it.

According to a source in Russia's Justice Ministry cited by RIA Novosti, Moscow sent a notification to the US broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), some services of Radio Svoboda, joint project of Radio Svoboda and VOA — Current Time TV — and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty a about the adoption by the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, of amendments to Russian laws envisioning the possibility of recognizing some foreign media outlets as foreign agents in Russia.

READ MORE: 'Foreign Agent' Day: Simonyan Proposes Moving Press Freedom Day to November 10

In order to come into force the bill has to be brought to Russia's upper house of parliament for approval and then be signed by the president.

State Duma plenary session. (File) - Sputnik International
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According to the law, foreign agent status will be assigned to foreign media outlets operating in Russia that are registered abroad and financed from foreign sources. It implies that they will have to publish a notice that their materials are provided by a foreign agent, report on their activities, submit information about the composition of their management and provide expense reports.

RT's Registration Under FARA

Moscow vowed to respond to the demand issued by the US Department of Justice for RT America's registration under FARA by November 13, with the Russian Foreign Ministry calling the move an "unfriendly step."

On Monday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan announced that RT America had registered as a foreign agent in the United States to comply with the demand, explaining that the broadcaster was choosing between a criminal case and registration.

READ MORE: US Demand for RT FARA Registration 'Sounds Like Desperation' — Daniel McAdams

Commenting on Russia's response measures, the Kremlin spokesman has stated that any violations against Russian journalists "shall not remain unanswered."

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