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MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. The Russian Justice Ministry has specified that possible restrictions against US mass media in Russia will not affect media outlets supported by other countries.
"The currently taken restrictive measures against mass media outlets registered in the US are retaliatory measures in response to pressure against Russian media in the United States and do not affect media outlets registered in other countries," the Justice Ministry noted.
The ministry reiterated that retaliatory measures are stipulated in the law "On mass media" and in the accreditation rules for foreign media correspondents in Russia.
In particular, the law "On mass media" provides the possibility to set restrictions for correspondents working in media outlets of the countries that have special restrictions for work of Russian media journalists.
"In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry may take retaliatory measures against correspondents of mass media from those countries that have restrictions against Russian journalists (point 23 of ‘The Rules for accreditation and staying of correspondents from foreign mass media outlets on the territory of the Russian Federation’)," the Justice Ministry noted.
Russia’s retaliatory measures came in response to actions against Russian television channels - RT and Sputnik - operating in the US. According to RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, the Russian TV channel operating in the US was obliged to register as a foreign agent before October 17, which will further require publication of full data on all its employees, including their salaries, phone numbers and addresses. In case RT fails to do so, serious measures will be taken against its employees, up to arrests.
A Russian government source earlier said that the Russian Justice Ministry had sent an official letter notifying of impending changes in Russian law regarding extension of the list of non-commercial organizations that may be recognized as foreign agents to some American media outlets, including those accountable to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) - Voice of America, Radio Free Europe’s Russian service (Radio Svoboda) and internet projects Current Time, Factograph, Crimea Realii (Crimea Realities), Radio Liberty on the Tatar Language, Caucasus Realii (Caucasus Realities) and Idel Realii (Idel Realities).
Russia may also respond to actions against RT and Sputnik by cutting down the number of reporters and rejecting accreditation by the Russian Foreign Ministry, as well as checking observance by American media outlets of the Russian labor and tax legislation, with further release of their results. At the same time, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has authority to recognize some American media caught meddling in the Russian domestic affairs as undesirable organizations.
In addition, the source said, with regard to restricted operation of the current law on foreign agents there will be proposals to extend the list of organizations affected by it, including mass media, and the possibilities to recognize individuals who get foreign financing as foreign agents. After making amendments to the Russian legislation, American media outlets may be suggested to register as foreign agents with all the consequences that come with it.