The Russian Justice Ministry told RIA Novosti that a warning to some US media outlets is a "mirror response" to pressure on Russian journalists.
The Justice Ministry said that it has informed Radio Liberty and 2 other US media outlets of possible restrictions under the "foreign agent" law.
"On October 9, 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice sent a letter to a number of US mass media outlets carrying out their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation on the inadmissibility of violating the Russian legislation. The activities of such media outlets may be subjected to other restrictions provided for by the current legislation of the Russian Federation," the ministry said in a statement.
"The principle of mirror measures will be used in the future, depending on the measures applied to the Russian media by the United States of America," the ministry said.
The source stressed that "these actions concern only the US media, and this is an exceptional measure in response to a possible RT TV channel status of a 'foreign agent' in the United States."
"Taking into account the limitations of the current law on foreign agents, proposals will be made to expand the list of organizations that meet the criteria for inclusion in this category, including media outlets, as well as the possibility of recognizing as 'foreign agents' individuals receiving foreign funding," the source added.
The development came after Current Time TV channel said Monday it had received a warning from the Russian Justice Ministry about possibly being assigned a status of a "foreign agent" in Russia.
Current Time is a 24-hour Russian-language television and digital news network aimed at audiences in Russia, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world. It is produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in cooperation with the Voice of America (VOA).
'Mirror Response' to Pressure on RT in US
RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commented on possible "illegal" restrictions for the work of the Russian broadcaster, saying that RT might cease its activities in the United States due to increasing pressure from the country's authorities.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian upper house's Foreign Affairs Committee, said earlier in the day that possible designation of Current Time television and Radio Liberty as "foreign agent" media outlets could be viewed as a "mirror response" to US pressure on RT.
"This could be the case, in my opinion. After all, that's how the US side acts in regard to RT," Konstantin Kosachev said before the Justice Ministry officially confirmed the information.
Foreign Agents List
In June 2014, Putin signed a bill, which authorizes the Justice Ministry to put NGOs into "foreign agents" list without their consent, however, this decision can be appealed in a court. As of June 2017, over 90 NGOs operating in Russia were put into "foreign agents" list, according to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office.