19:27 GMT18 June 2021
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    RT and Sputnik editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, commenting on the recent statement of US Senator John McCain that the US media "call governments to account," said that they were in fact engaged exclusively in the promotion of Russian opposition.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — McCain stressed in his Wednesday's statement that it was important to distinguish between the RT broadcaster and such networks as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which worked to "seek the truth, debunk lies, and hold governments accountable," while RT spread propaganda.

    On Wednesday, the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, passed a legislative amendment that would allow foreign media working in Russia and funded from abroad to be classified as foreign agents. The move came as a response to the United States' pressure on Russian media, including the US Department of Justice's demand that RT America register under US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

    "I want to give you an example of what the US media, paid by the State Department, are actually doing, what they are doing in Russia. McCain tells us that they are engaged in journalism, and we [RT] are 'propaganda.' In fact, US media working in Russia deal exclusively with the promotion of the Russian opposition and the anti-promotion of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, they work as a press service for the Russian opposition," Simonyan said on air of the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.

    Simonyan previously announced that RT America has registered under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). However, other foreign media outlets, such as the UK BBC broadcaster, Chinese CCTV broadcaster, French France 24 broadcaster or German Deutsche Welle radio station have not been registered as foreign agents. Simonyan said Monday that the broadcaster was choosing between a criminal case and registration, congratulating "the American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it."

    On Wednesday, speaking at the annual international conference News Xchange, Simonyan said that she would prefer to avoid both US restrictive measures against the Russian media and the response measures. She noted that Russia had always clearly stated about the response to the measures that are being taken against Russians in other countries.

    On Thursday, US Congresswoman Anna Eshoo called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to probe the alleged role of the broadcaster RT and Sputnik, which went on FM radio on July 11 this year, in the 2016 US presidential election.

    "I am writing you once again to urge you to launch a long-overdue FCC investigation into the licenses that have facilitated the use of American airwaves to broadcast information by foreign agents without proper disclosure," Eshoo said in a letter to the FCC. She said this was her third request to probe RT's and Sputnik's work during the 2016 US election race.

    The RT broadcaster and the Sputnik news agency have faced significant pressure in the United States over the past few months, with US lawmakers and intelligence community claiming the broadcaster may have been involved in Russia’s alleged attempts to influence both US public opinion and the 2016 presidential election. Both RT and Sputnik, as well as Russian authorities have repeatedly refuted the allegations as unsubstantiated.

    The Russian Justice Ministry officially confirmed on Thursday that it sent notices to a number of media outlets about their possible recognition in Russia by foreign agents. The letters were sent to the Voice of America, Kavkaz.Realii, Krym.Realii, Sibir.Realii, the regional project Idel.realii, the Current Time broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Tatar-Bashkir edition of Radio Liberty (Azatliq Radiosi) and the Factograph project.


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    Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Sputnik, RT, Margarita Simonyan, US, Russia
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