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Russia’s Justice Ministry promises tit-for-tat measures against US media

October 09, 21:33 UTC+3

The ministry has warned a number of US mass media of possible extension of the list of foreign agents as a response to possible listing of Russia’s RT and Sputnik as foreign agents

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© Zurab Javakhadze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Russia’s justice ministry said on Monday it will continue to use the principle of tit-for-tat measures in respect of US mass media depending on US’ measures against Russian media.

"On October 9, a letter was sent to a number of US media operating in Russia warning of inadmissibility of violating Russian laws," the ministry told TASS. "The Russian law on the mass media provides for a possibility of imposing restrictions on journalists from those states that have special restrictions on professional activities of journalists working with mass media registered in Russia."

The ministry described the letter as a "tit-for-tat measure to persecution of Russian mass media in the United States. The ministry warned that other restrictions envisaged by Russian laws may be imposed of such mass media.

"The principle of tit-for-tat measures will be used further on depending on measures imposed on Russian mass media in the United States," the ministry stressed.

"The ministry of justice today sent to a number of US media, including BBG- (Broadcasting Board of Governors) controlled Voice of America, Radio Liberty, internet projects Nastoyashchee Vremya, Faktopgraf, Krym.realii, Radio Liberty in the Tatar language. Kavkaz.realii and Idel.realii, an official letter notifying of the forthcoming amendments to the Russian laws concerning the extension of the list of non-government organizations that could be recognized as foreign agents," the source said.

According to the source, these steps would be applicable only to US mass media "and this is only a response measure to possible listing RT as a foreign agent in the United States."

Possible response measures may range from quantitative restrictions to denial of accreditation with the Russian foreign ministry. Apart from that, the ministry may initiate inspections to check observance of Russian labor and tax law by US media (offices, payment of taxes, financing, labor contracts with the personnel, including free-lancers) with subsequent public disclosure.

"The prosecutor general’s office now has all the authority to list a number of US mass media caught in interfering into Russia’s domestic affairs as unwanted organizations in Russia," the source said, adding that it is planned to amend the law on foreign agents to extend the list of organizations covered by this law to include mass media and individuals sponsored from abroad.

"Once these amendments are made to the Russian legislation, US media will be advised to register as foreign agents with all the consequences that come with it," the source stressed.

Countermeasures

A source in the Russian government said earlier on Monday Russia’s ministry of justice had sent to a number of US media, including BBG- (Broadcasting Board of Governors) controlled Voice of America, Radio Liberty, internet projects Nastoyashchee Vremya, Faktopgraf, Krym.realii, Radio Liberty in the Tatar language. Kavkaz.realii and Idel.realii, an official letter notifying of the forthcoming amendments to the Russian laws concerning the extension of the list of non-government organizations that could be recognized as foreign agents.

According to the source, these steps would be applicable only to US mass media "and this is only a response measure to possible listing RT as a foreign agent in the United States."

Possible response measures may range from quantitative restrictions to denial of accreditation with the Russian foreign ministry. Apart from that, the ministry may initiate inspections to check observance of Russian labor and tax law by US media (offices, payment of taxes, financing, labor contracts with the personnel, including free-lancers) with subsequent public disclosure.

The prosecutor general’s office now has all the authority to list a number of US mass media caught in interfering into Russia’s domestic affairs as unwanted organizations in Russia," the source said.

Amendments to law

According to the source, it is planned to amend the law on foreign agents to extend the list of organizations covered by this law to include mass media and individuals sponsored from abroad. So, once these amendments are made to the Russian legislation, US media will be advised to register as foreign agents with all the consequences that come with it.

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