Russians advance foreign-media steps

Russian Parliament passes law to introduce foreign agent status for media outlets

State Duma passes amendment on media classified as “foreign agents”

The amendments under consideration in Russia were proposed by lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature.

Russian MPs backed amendments that would allow worldwide media that receive financing from overseas to be classified as "foreign agents", RIA Novosti news agency reported, a measure previously used only against NGOs.

"Independent media outlets and journalists face reprisals and risk attacks on an nearly daily basis".

The broadly phrased bill will leave it to the Russian government to determine which foreign media outlets would be designated as foreign agents, said Leonid Levin, the head of the Duma committee for information.

He noted that the measure would allow Russian Federation to mirror the U.S. demands for RT or any other such action taken by other countries.

It's the first tangible response to a move by the U.S. Department of Justice to require the firm that produces the U.S. branch of Russian television network RT to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The Moscow-based broadcaster has become a focus of the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The Russian bill would allow the government to mirror the USA demands, said the chairman of the Duma committee for information, Leonid Levin.

"We are making it possible.to take selective retaliatory measures - that is the idea of the law, and I hope it will be enforced this way".

It was not immediately clear which steps would be taken towards media in Russian Federation.

The media outlets singled out as foreign agents will face requirements now applied to foreign-funded non-governmental organisations under a 2012 law. Since then, they are requested to feature the label on their paperwork, statements, and other material.

They can also be subjected to spot checks by authorities to make sure they comply with the rules.

On Wednesday, the bill passed its third hearing with a unanimous vote of 414-0. Russian President Vladimir Putin called this situation an attack on freedom of speech and members of the State Duma initiated preparation of symmetrical response measures.

On Wednesday, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was premature to discuss the perceived "harshness" of the law.

Peskov also sidestepped a reporter's question about Putin possibly demanding changes in the wording of the amendment.

"We still have not seen the law in practice, so it would be utterly incorrect to draw conclusions about it being more or less harsh".

SMRT, LTA Investigate MRT Train Accident
Bad for Besiktas: Arsenal & Marouane Fellaini