WASHINGTON, November 29. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday described the US Department of State’s criticism of Russia’s ‘foreign agent’ law as a yet another example of double standards
"The US Department of State’s statement is a yet another example of double standards and an attempt to turn everything upside down in the foreign agents issue," the embassy said in a statement.
"Apparently, Washington still believes that it is possible to launch attacks on Russian media and put forward groundless and absurd accusations against them. In response, they expect Russia to create most favorable conditions for US media working in Russia. They still fail to understand that an approach of this kind toward Russia is a dead end," the embassy said.
According to the statement, the amendments to the Russian legislation were introduced after numerous warnings to the US side to stop imposing restrictions on Russian media working in the United States.
However, according to the embassy, this "zero-sum game" can still be stopped.
"The zero-sum game, suggested by Washington, can still be stopped. But, to begin with, the main cause of it - the persecution of Russian media in US - has to be eliminated," the statement reads. "We still believe that it’s not too late to mend everything."
US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that the new Russian legislation that allows to label media outlets as "foreign agents" "presents yet another threat to free media in Russia" and should not be used in practice.
"New Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as "foreign agents" and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to free media in Russia," she said. "Freedom of expression - including speech and media which a government may find inconvenient - is a universal human rights obligation Russia has pledged to uphold."
On November 22, Russia’s Federation Council approved a bill concerning foreign media outlets acting as foreign agents. President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law on November 25.
The document provides the Russian government with an opportunity to declare a media outlet a foreign agent in case it receives funding from abroad. After obtaining the foreign agent status, media outlets will be subject to restrictions imposed on non-profit organizations acting as foreign agents. They would also be held accountable for the violations of the law.
The law was adopted in response to the demand made by the United States US Department of Justice that the US branch of Russia’s RT TV channel register as a foreign agent.