WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Russian embassy in the United States has called on Washington to allow Russian media outlets in the US continue their normal daily journalistic routine, avoiding one more possible irritant in bilateral ties.
According to the embassy, the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was used selectively and in a politically motivated way, however, the pressure on Russian media outlet was continuing.
None of the international media outlets were requested to register under the FARA. According to the official list of companies and institutions registered as a foreign agent in the US, as of December 31, 2016 only one media was registered as such —Japanese Cosmomedia America, which is engaged in the rebroadcasting of Japanese television programs in the country.
"The Russian side has repeatedly stated that making Russian media in the United States change their status to foreign agents could significantly complicate their work and create problems for journalists… We call [on the US side] not to create yet another irritant in bilateral relations and to allow the media to work in a normal way," the statement said on Tuesday.
"Yes, there is a legal norm analogous to the US FARA in Russia. We took into consideration the experience of leading Western countries, while developing it. The main difference of the Russian law from the US one is that it is universal. Experience has proven that the US law is enforced only in a selective and politically motivated manner. This can be proven by the absence of foreign agents from the largest media outlets funded by Western states on the American list," the statement said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press briefing that registering under FARA would not affect the news coverage of the Russian media outlets in the United States. However, Nauert added that registration procedures should be launched when a media company suspected in alleged "political activity."
Over recent months, RT, as well as Sputnik, have faced pressure over allegations concerning their role in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Russian officials, including the ones from the Foreign Ministry, have said that Moscow has the right to react with a reciprocal response if Washington chooses to curb the work of Russian media in the United States.