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State Duma committee head not ruling out clampdown on ‘foreign agent’ mass media

November 22, 17:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On November 15, the State Duma unilaterally adopted a law that recognizes a media outlet as a foreign agent if it is financed from abroad

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State Duma committee head Sergey Gavrilov

State Duma committee head Sergey Gavrilov

© Sergei Karpov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 22. /TASS/. Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Development of the Civil Society and the Issues of Public and Religious Associations Sergey Gavrilov (the CPRF) believes it is necessary to get tough on mass media recognized as foreign agents if Washington continues to tighten the screws on Russian mass media in the US.

"The measures taken by Russia (in response to the actions by the US Department of Justice that demanded Russia’s RT television company register as a foreign agent - TASS) are rather soft and totally adequate, considering the rigidity of US legislation against the mass media that stipulates responsibility [of mass media - foreign agents] as far as criminal prosecution and total release of information on its sources of funding."

"If our relations [with the US] in this sphere remain stymied, we’ll need to get tough by raising accountability on the so-called foreign agents - mass media vis-a-vis the law and our country," the MP said on Wednesday. The lawmaker spoke at a "government hour" symposium in the lower house together with Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov.

Mass media norms and foreign agents

On November 15, the State Duma unilaterally adopted a law that recognizes a media outlet as a foreign agent if it is financed from abroad. After receiving the status of a foreign agent, those media outlets in question will be slapped with restrictions and liabilities that are currently stipulated for non-profit organizations - as foreign agents. They will also face responsibility for violating laws similar to those faced by such non-profit organizations. On November 22, the Federation Council approved the law.

The specified chamber’s decision came as a response to the demands placed by the US Department of Justice on RT America - the US branch of the Russian TV station - to be registered as a foreign agent in the United States.

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