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Russia’s Justice Ministry outlines scope of responsibilities for foreign agent media

December 21, 2017, 16:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Ministry of Justice’s order is expected to come into force in March 2018

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Russian Justice Ministry

Russian Justice Ministry

© Yuri Mashkov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. The Russian Justice Ministry has defined the scope of responsibilities for those mass media outlets that have been classified as foreign agents. The ministry’s draft order posted on the draft regulatory legal acts website on Thursday states that foreign media outlets performing the functions of foreign agents are obliged to accompany their material distributed through mass media or online with "reference to the fact that they are published and (or) distributed by a foreign mass media outlet performing the functions of a foreign agent."

In addition to that, they are obliged to provide reports on their activities and senior executives every six months (no later than January 15 and July 15) and reports on the purposes of spending funds and use of other property, including those received from foreign sources every quarter (no later than January 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15) and on the actual spending and use of funds and other property received from foreign sources.

Media outlets labeled as foreign agents are obliged to conduct audits of their annual accounting reports and submit audit reports for the previous year to the Ministry of Justice no later than April 15. The documents can be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice either by mail or via the Internet, including through the Unified Public Services Portal. In addition to that, foreign agents must publish reports on their performance online or in the Russian media every six months.

The Ministry of Justice’s order is expected to come into force in March 2018.

On December 5, Russia’s Justice Ministry designated nine mass media outlets, including the US government-backed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as foreign agents. This move was a response to the demand by the US Department of Justice that RT America, a US branch of the Russian television company, register as a foreign agent. RT journalists were also stripped of their Capitol Hill credentials.

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