MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the RT broadcaster, on Friday called the US authorities' demand to register a contractor of RT in the United States as a foreign agent, illegitimate.
Earlier in September, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the company that runs the channel in the United States to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), while in June US congressmen introduced a Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act bill. The latter would provide the Justice Department with increased investigative authority to identify and prosecute entities that allegedly seek to unlawfully influence the US political process.
"The order to register under this law is illegitimate. The US lawyers tell us that this demand is illegitimate and contradicts US legislation… Nevertheless, the same lawyers tell us that we are obliged to register, otherwise on October 17 our employees and our property will be arrested," Simonyan said in a talk show on Channel One Russia.
The United States cannot shut down the broadcaster, since it would be a violation of press freedom, that is why, the country is creating conditions that make it impossible to work there, she added.
Russia has faced multiple accusations on the part of US officials and media of alleged interference in the US presidential election, although the claims have not been substantiated. Top Russian officials have repeatedly denied these allegations and stressed that Russia avoids interfering in other states’ domestic affairs.
RT and Sputnik have come under intense scrutiny in the United States, with US lawmakers questioning whether RT should have been registered under FARA and, most recently, asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to look into Sputnik Radio.