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Kremlin: Tit-for-tat action likely if Washington puts more heat on Russian media in US

October 06, 2017, 14:21 UTC+3

According to earlier reports, the RT television channel in the United States is obliged to declare itself as a foreign agent

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. The Kremlin is not ruling out tit-for-tat measures, should pressure on Russian mass media in the United States continue, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned.

He recalled that numerous Russian media were exposed to "unprecedented pressure" which "considerably hinders their operation in a number of Western countries, including the United States."

"We are certain that this is a violation of freedom of speech and the press. We do hope that such repression of our mass media, in particular, RT and Sputnik, will not go unnoticed by the corresponding international organizations. It goes without saying that should any further harassment or more violations against the rights of our mass media to operate unimpeded occur, one cannot rule out that measures will be taken based on the principle of reciprocity," Peskov cautioned.

"First and foremost we are guided by this law," Peskov stressed. He avoided specifying what hindrances the US authorities were posing to the operation of Russian mass media and advised reporters to address this question to the employees of the media outlets concerned.

In taking tit-for-tat measures, Moscow would proceed from the assumption "that freedom of the press in Russia and the equality of foreign and Russian mass media are enshrined in the law on mass media."

"We find it worrisome in principle that our mass media are not allowed to work normally. This is unacceptable to us. It is a violation of freedom of speech," Peskov noted. He did not confirm media rumors that the Prosecutor-General’s Office might declare some US mass media undesirable.

"No, the Kremlin does not have any such information," the spokesman said.

According to earlier reports, the RT television channel in the United States is obliged to declare itself a foreign agent. Otherwise its staff will have to brace for serious measures, including arrests, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said. However, if RT agrees to declare itself a foreign agent, it will be obliged to publish the full personal information about its employees, including salaries, home addresses and telephones. This would make RT’s work impossible, because it is unlikely that potential employees would favor retaining their jobs, over the security of their families. Later Simonyan said the channel experienced an employee exodus due to personal safety risks.

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