06:47 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Russia to Ban CNN if US Adopts Law Banning Russian TV Channels

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    Russian lawmakers and the country's media watchdog have commented on the possible ban on Russian state media content in the US.

    Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that Moscow would react to any "pressure or persecution" against Russia media outlet. She went on saying that Russia did not intend to obstruct the work of US reporters or any other foreign journalists.

    "As for the format and methods of the response to the corresponding actions of the US authorities… US security forces, which are behind squeezing Russian media from the United States, it will all be developed based on the development of the situation around Russian media outlets," Zakharova said at a briefing.

    The head of the Mass Communication Control and Supervision Department at Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor Tatiana Deniskina has commented on the bill to Sputnik, saying that Russia will introduce response measures if the US Senate adopts a bill against Russian state content in US TV networks.

    READ MORE: US Annual Defense Bill Targets Alleged Russian Television Content

    "If there is a decision there will be measures," she said.

    Deniskina has explained that the Russian communications watchdog has mechanisms for a tough response to the oppression of Russian media abroad. According to her, since January 1, Roskomnadzor will have the opportunity to terminate the previously issued permits for the distribution of foreign periodicals in Russia.

    "In case there is a need to take tough measures, such mechanisms, in principle, already exist, in terms of indirect control," Deniskina said at a meeting of the Federation Council's committee on information policy where Russia's possible steps in response to the pressure on the Russian media in the United States were discussed.

    A similar position has been voiced by Senator Igor Morozov, a member of the Federation Council Commission on Information Policy.

    READ MORE: US Annual Defense Bill Targets Alleged Russian Television Content

    "If the law is adopted, Russia will take measures that mirror the actions of the US Congress. CNN will immediately find itself in an information vacuum and isolation in Russia, CNN will be legally banned from inclusion in any broadcasts, including in cable television packages," Morozov said.

    Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Federation Council commission on information policy has also critisized the draft bill.

    "As one of the preventive measures, I think it is necessary to deprive the 'most anti-Russian' US media working in Russia of the opportunity to receive interviews from representatives of state institutions, ask questions at press conferences, get accreditation in these structures," Pushkov said.

    According to Pushkov, the degree of pressure on RT in the United States has reached an almost extreme point.

    "I think our American counterparts should know that Russia will respond to the "squeezing out "of our media with exactly the same measures," he said, adding that Russia may adopt preventive measures instead of response ones.

    "If we only adopt response measures, we will constantly be in the state of defense. It is a basis to adopt some restrictive measures against US media in Russia, they should be adopted. For example, Google had to agree to serious restrictions in China some time ago, our information market is no less attractive to them," he said at the commission’s session.

    According to him, Russia may make a decision on cessation of broadcasting of foreign TV channels which do not adhere to the principles of impartiality in their work in the country.

    "In particular, this is the headquarters of the … [Current Time] TV channel broadcasting in Russian headquartered in Prague. It is necessary to examine whether it adheres to the principle of due impartiality. If not, we could take measures to exclude the broadcasting of these channels on the Russian territory," he said at the commission’s meeting.

    US Draft Defense Bill

    The adopted draft of the US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 stipulates that any video content from television stations to the extent that such content is owned, controlled, or financed by the Russian government is not allowed for broadcasting in the US.

    READ MORE: Who's the Enemy? Russia or Those Telling You It's Russia?

    The pressure on the Russian media in the US has intensified within the last year in the wake of the presidential election, with the US Congress accusing RT of alleged attempts to meddle in the country's affairs, a claim repeatedly denied by the Kremlin and RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, who has slammed the US authorities for putting unprecedented pressure on the broadcaster. 

    Most recently, the US Department of Justice asked a contractor of RT in the United States to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    READ MORE: Twitter-Owned Mopub Blocks Sputnik Account After US Tech Giants' Testimony

    Besides, the draft US defense bill also suggests banning the Defense Department from using Kaspersky Lab products over fears of alleged Russian state interference. 

    This comes just two months after the Homeland Security Department asked state agencies to stop using Kaspersky products within the next 90 days, citing potential threat to the national cybersecurity. The company has denied having ever worked for a government or engaging in cyberespionage.

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