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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has called on the public to avoid reading news from Russian media outlets, specifically the RT broadcaster and Sputnik news agency.
"I encourage everybody, if you are reading something… and it suddenly takes you to RT and Sputnik, be aware. I mean, those are state-sponsored news outlets. They're not independent," the Washington Examiner quoted Nielsen as saying at a cybersecurity summit in Washington.
The remark comes after a year of persistent pressure on Russian media in the United States, during which time US lawmakers and intelligence community claimed that the Russian outlets may have been involved in Moscow’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. The media, as well as Russian authorities, have repeatedly refuted the allegations as unsubstantiated.
In November, the US Department of Justice ordered the RT broadcaster's branch in the United States RT America to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
At the same time, many other media outlets, including BBC, China's CCTV, France 24, and Deutsche Welle were not registered as such. Later that month, RT's accreditation to the US Congress was revoked.
Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT, pointed out that the broadcaster's registration as a "foreign agent" put it at a disadvantage compared to other foreign media outlets working in the United States.
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