MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. The future foreign agent media law will not apply to correspondents and correspondent offices, Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy told reporters on Monday.
"It concerns neither social media nor correspondent offices, though many think so for some reason," he said. "The work of correspondent offices is based on the accreditation provided by the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information and Media, so the law will not affect correspondents, be it even CNN or BBC staff members," Tolstoy added. "It will only apply to foreign legal entities," the senior Russian lawmaker stressed.
Meanwhile, Tolstoy said that the State Duma may adopt the law at the November 15 meeting.
"We have said that we will try to do it fast. We have already passed the first reading of the document, and we will amend it during the second reading," he said.
"I hope that we will agree on the text today. If the Duma Council decides to extend the timeframe for submitting amendments, then the second reading will take place on Wednesday, as well as the third reading, so that we keep our promise to adopt the law this week," the Duma deputy speaker noted.
According to him, "the [State Duma] committee [on information policy - TASS] is currently considering the bill."
"We will include a separate provision into the document, which will provide authorities with the right to declare foreign media outlets foreign agents - we will clarify everything word by word in order to make it all transparent," he added.
The document is meant to be a response to the actions that the US Department of Justice earlier took against Russia’s RT TV channel, demanding that it brand itself a foreign agent.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the situation saying that RT was a victim of prejudice towards Russian media. The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said that the current legislation allowed for declaring foreign media outlets operating in Russia as foreign agents or undesirable organizations, so Moscow was ready to give a tough tit-for-tat response in case Washington continued to press its unacceptable demands.