Sputnik as well as RT broadcaster has faced significant pressure in the United States over the past few months, with US lawmakers and intelligence community claiming that they may have been involved in Russia’s alleged attempts to influence US 2016 presidential election.
The claims resulted in RT America registering as a foreign agent in the United States upon the DOJ request in November. Sputnik Radio's partner Reston Translator, a company that rebroadcasts radio programs, was also forced to register as a foreign agent by the DOJ. In December, the Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc. (MRBI) company, broadcasting Sputnik radio programs on AM frequencies, also received a notice from the authorities about the possibility of registering as a foreign agent and was requested to provide additional information for taking a decision.
Russia responded to the US measures in late November, when country’s President Vladimir Putin signed the law allowing the Justice Ministry to designate foreign media outlets funded from abroad as foreign agents. The ministry included nine media outlets on the list of foreign agents such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others.