"Such measures are not a harmless formality, as US colleagues have already tried to convince us, but an artificially created obstacle to the normal work of unwanted media, which can become the basis for all sorts of restrictions. A striking example has been the recent deprivation of RT America journalists of accreditation in the US Congress due to the status of the foreign agent," Lukashevich said the OSCE Permanent Council meeting, commenting on the US move.
According to Lukashevich, this is not only a manifestation of discrimination against certain media, but also an attack on freedom of speech in general.
"We expect [OSCE] Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir to react to this situation in accordance with his mandate," Lukashevich added.
The statement was made in wake of the DOJ demand, announced on January 10, for the international news agency and Radio Sputnik's partner in the country, RIA Global LLC, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) due to its alleged political activities on the US soil.
The move was made after RT America, upon the request of the US Justice Department, registered as a foreign agent in the United States under the FARA on November 13. After this, in mid-November, Sputnik Radio's partner Reston Translator, a company that rebroadcasts radio programs, was also forced to register as a foreign agent. In December, the Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc. (MRBI) company, broadcasting Sputnik radio programs on AM frequencies, received a notice from the US Justice Department about the possibility of registering as a foreign agent and was requested to provide additional information for taking a decision.
However, the DOJ requirements didn't include other foreign state media outlets in the United States, such as the United Kingdom’s BBC, China’s CCTV, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and others.
The US has been ramping their pressure on a number of Russian media outlets over the last several months, amid claims made by US lawmakers and intelligence community that the Russian media was involved in Moscow's alleged attempts to influence US 2016 presidential election. These accusations have been repeatedly refuted both by the media outlets and Rissian authorities as unsubstantiated.