MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. The United States is frightened and upset by the popularity and influence of the Russian media, hence the demand that a Russian media outlet should register as a foreign agent, Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament), Valentina Matviyenko, told reporters on Tuesday.
"Of course, this is the highest appraisal of our media’s professionalism, which, for some reason, scares many in the US," the speaker said. She noted that the US Constitution emphasizes the inadmissibility of restricting freedom of speech, which is the key factor of democracy.
"Nevertheless, by hook or by crook, [US officials] demanded that a Russian media outlet should register as a foreign agent to hinder its work and reduce its popularity in the US, although the Russian media did not violate the US legislation in any way and did not give the slightest occasion for faultfinding. The TV channel's professional work has acquired such influence and interest, which frightens and upsets [the US authorities]."
Matviyenko stressed that Washington’s moves against Russian media "cause both bafflement and indignation."
On November 9, the US Department of Justice demanded that RT America, the US branch of Russia’s RT television channel, should register as a foreign agent by November 13. Later on, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said the TV network had to agree to register as a foreign agent, otherwise the channel would not be able to work in the US.
On November 10, Speaker of Russia’s State Duma (upper house of parliament) Vyacheslav Volodin asked its relevant committees to come up with tit-for-tat moves in response to Washington’s actions. On November 14, State Duma Vice Speaker Igor Lebedev told TASS that the law would be passed on November 15. Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told reporters that the upper house of the Russian parliament would consider the document at its next meeting after it is passed by the State Duma.