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    RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan

    Simonyan on Congress Considering Ban of RT Ads: 'In Name of Freedom of Speech'

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    RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan has commented on US Congressman Schiff's remark suggesting whether the RT broadcaster should be allowed to place ads on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

    "Congressmen are considering whether to ban RT from advertising – in the name of freedom of speech in America," Simonyan said in a comment.

    The statement was made after Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the US House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday, that it was "a tough question" whether RT should be allowed to place advertisements, adding that algorithms created to maximize ad revenues might also be "socially destructive." According to Schiff, RT allegedly wanted to help then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump damage his rival Hillary Clinton and "sow discord" with its promoted tweets.

    READ MORE: Russia to Ban CNN if US Adopts Law Banning Russian TV Channels

    Simonyan has also commented on the US defense budget draft's proposal to limit video content linked to the Russian government on national television broadcasters.

    "The next step will be forbidding the word 'Russia' in daily use. They will say 'that country,' on air, for example," Simonyan said on Twitter.

    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 suggests that US distributors should not be required to carry the content "owned, controlled, or financed" by the Russian government.

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

    Pressure on RT in the US Amid Russia Probe

    Simonyan's statement comes in the wake of Twitter's decision to block ads from all accounts owned by RT and Sputnik, based on its own investigation into the 2016 US election, prompting Moscow to call the move "another aggressive step" toward Russian media outlets in the US.

    READ MORE: Google Confirms Russia's Federal News Agency Outlet Blocked From Google News

    While the Sputnik press service has stated the news agency had never used paid promotions on Twitter, RT has revealed how Twitter itself has been pushing it to spend big on its ads during the US election campaign, a proposal eventually turned down by the media outlet.

    Following Twitter's move, the Russian Federation Council's commission on protection of state sovereignty advised Russian companies to refrain from posting advertisements on Twitter in response to the discrimination against Russian media in the United States.

    The claims of RT and Sputnik's alleged attempts to interfere in the US presidential election have prompted the US Senate to hold a hearing with the US tech giants, which also included Google and Facebook. However, in their testimony, the CEOs of Google and Twitter have stated that they found no violations by RT's ads on their platforms.

    In addition to measures by US social media companies aiming to restrict RT's activities, the broadcaster was also requested to register under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in September, prompting Moscow to warn Washington of reciprocal measures toward US outlets in Russia.

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    Sputnik, RT, Margarita Simonyan, United States, Russia
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