Russian Federation to classify internationally-funded media as foreign agents

Russia's RT registers as foreign agent in US

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

The measure comes as a direct response after the Russian state-funded TV channel RT registered with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent after pressure from the US government.

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

The DOJ announced the registration and published the forms on Monday. The Justice Department said Monday it is reviewing the filing for "sufficiency".

"Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the US government or public on behalf of foreign principals", Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente said in a statement Monday.

Simonyan said that failure to fulfill the U.S. Department of Justice's request to register by Monday could have led to the arrest of RT's American director and the freezing of its accounts. RT said after initially skipping its October deadline to register under FARA, they were forced to file or their employees could face imprisonment and have their assets seized. As a result, the unit often gets involved after public media reports raise questions about a company's work for a foreign government.

The filings list Mikhail V. Solodovnikov as the general manager of T&R Productions LLC, and indicate that he was paid an annual salary of $670,000.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last month that the need for registration under FARA "is simply triggered when an entity or an individual engages in political activity". "Registrant respectfully disagrees that FARA should apply".

RT and Sputnik have been accused by US intelligence agencies of spreading disinformation as part of a Russian government effort to influence the election. USA intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the Russian government's behest.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also recently denounced the USA pressure against Russian media. Yahoo News has separately reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed a former Sputnik correspondent about his work at the website.

A senior lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, Andrei Isayev, said on November 13 that Radio/Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Voice of America (VOA), CNN, and German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle were among media organizations that could be declared foreign agents in Russia once the legislation is in place.

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