"Similar to Russia’s state-controlled RT and Sputnik news services, the People’s Republic of China controls several media organizations that disseminate news and propaganda domestically and internationally… If the Department assesses that the [Chinese] media organizations do not incur reporting requirements under FARA similar to those of U.S.-based affiliates of RT and Sputnik, please state why," the letter, published on Tuesday, said.
Senators, led by Rubio and Democrat Patrick Leahy, suggested that "a sensible step for the United States government to take is appropriately enforcing existing laws, such as FARA, designed to protect against just such concerns."
A number of companies affiliated with RT and Sputnik, and working in the United States were asked to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) last year or warned about such possibility. RT America had to register under FARA in November and lost its Congress accreditation as a result.
Several other foreign state media outlets, such as the United Kingdom’s BBC, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and others, have not been asked to register yet.
The US government and lawmakers largely believe that RT and Sputnik receive directions from the Kremlin. However, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of both media companies, responded to the propaganda allegations back in October, pointing out that RT simply had a point of view different from the mainstream one in the United States.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the actions of the US side regarding RT and Sputnik raised questions about freedom of information in the United States.