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    OSCE Rep Urges US, Russia to Stop Branding Media as 'Foreign Agents'

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    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir expressed his concern on Thursday about measures by the United States requiring the RT broadcaster to register as "foreign agent" and the subsequent tit-for-tat response from Moscow.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — 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).

    "Branding media entities as 'foreign agents' is a dangerous practice, as it can narrow the space for freedom of the media…. I call on both the Unites States and the Russian Federation to reconsider and refrain from requiring media entities to register as 'foreign agents' and not take further steps," said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir.

    Desir added that he stood ready to offer his assistance to help both states to solve this situation in line with their media freedom commitments.

    The Russian Union of Journalists said in October that the intent of US authorities to put Russian media on the list of foreign agents was a direct violation of the principle of freedom of speech.

    RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said last week that the demand to register as a foreign agent was discriminatory as it put RT at a disadvantage compared to other foreign media outlets operating in the United States.

    Russian officials and lawmakers have repeatedly stressed the necessity of reciprocal measures in response to pressure on Russian media outlets. 

    Related:

    Editor-in-Chief Reveals 3 Scenarios as Result of RT Registration Under FARA
    Moscow Sees US Demanding RT to Register Under FARA as Unfriendly Step
    Registering Under FARA 'Does Not Inhibit Freedom of Expression' - Justice Dept.
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    foreign agent, OSCE, Russia, United States
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