Russian ambassador to USA voices support to RT journalists

Lawmaker Says Russia Working On Legislation To Label Media Outlets 'Foreign Agents'

In a statement, the embassy said RT was given "an ultimatum to register as a foreign agent by November 13" and if the company doesn't comply, the USA government is "threatening to start arresting staff" and freezing bank accounts.

Naturally this hasn't gone down well in Moscow where moves are afoot in the Russian parliament to place similar restrictions on CNN, the Voice of America and Radio Liberty, considered to be a "biased" media outlets which "oppose" Russia's own political system, The Guardian reports.

In its January 2016 assessment of Russian interference, the intelligence community said RT was part of the Kremlin's influence campaign to sway the last U.S. election.

In the Friday filing, T&R states the production of its programs "remains under the independent editorial control of registrant, " adding that T&R "respectfully disagrees that FARA should apply". RT has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Russian Federation.

The registration follows an acrimonious back-and-forth between RT and the Justice Department about whether they should have to file paperwork under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

"Between a criminal case and registration, we chose the latter", Simonyan wrote today in a tweet. In January, the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency released a declassified report alleging that RT had sought to undermine the USA elections with "consistently negative" coverage of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Just last month, social media giant Twitter announced it would off-board ads from RT and another outlet - Sputnik - based on the USA intelligence community's claim that both outlets acted on behalf of the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election.

"Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the USA government or public on behalf of foreign principals", Boente said.

Simonyan said in an earlier comment on the situation around the channel it had very strong objections to the demands of this kind but it was compelled to agree because it would not be able to operate in the USA otherwise.

The disclosures by T&R Productions detail the relationship between the Washington-based production firm and RT parent ANO TV-Novosti, which is described in the filings as a Russian nongovernmental organization. FARA was first passed in 1938 in an effort to combat German propaganda efforts leading up to World War II.

The United States and Russian Federation are engaged in a back-and-forth over "foreign agent" registration.

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