Roskomnadzor will send Google an official request in connection with the intention to "rank" the materials of RT and Sputnik, Alexander Zharov added.
Russian media watchdog chief said "let's first see what they will do. To rank the news — what this means, I would like to understand. Secondly, it is obvious that we will defend our media. Let's see how discriminating this measure will be in its practical embodiment."
Earlier, Eric Schmidt, the former head of Google who is now chairman of the board of directors of the parent holding company Alphabet Inc. announced his intention to develop special algorithms that will lower the likelihood of RT and Sputnik results appear in Google's search results. He noted that Google is trying to prevent the distribution of the content of these resources, but does not want to ban the sites themselves. According to Schmidt, he "does not at all support censorship," but "believes in ranking."
Russian Journalist Union's Reaction
The secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists and a member of the International Federation of Journalists Executive Committee, Timur Shafir, said that Google’s plan to de-rank Russian media, including the RT and Sputnik news outlets “another one in a long list of unprecedented pressure on the Russian media in the United States, is not surprising, does not cause resentment or feeling of righteous anger. Unfortunately, in a very short period of time we got used to the fact that all actions against RT and Sputnik are unconditional and baseless discrimination, which is used only for political purposes."
"The concepts of freedom of expression and information, journalists' rights, openness and free distribution of information are sacrifices in [the harassment of Russian media]. Everything that is happening has unfortunately moved into the category of expected," Shafir added.
The US is putting pressure on the Russian media, accusing Moscow of interference in the internal affairs of the country.
In September, the US Justice Department demanded that RT America should be added to its register of foreign agents. On November 10, T&R Productions LLC, which manufactures programs and broadcasts RT in the US, was listed as a foreign agent. On November 17, the Justice Ministry added Reston Translator, which broadcast Sputnik radio programs, to the list of foreign agents.
Independent investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election did not find any evidence.
Russia has repeatedly refuted these charges, Dmitry Peskov, the presidential press secretary, called them "absolutely unsubstantiated."
The Russian State Duma approved amendments to the law of 2012, directed against non-governmental organizations, extending it to foreign media.