Russian Federation gives early approval to new bill on foreign media



In retaliation, Russian Federation adopted a bill that allows the government to designate global media outlets as foreign agents.

If this is not done, the authorities will order communications operators to block access to such media.

In November, Putin approved a law giving the government the power to label foreign-funded media outlets in Russian Federation as "foreign agents".

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The media dispute began in November when Kremlin-funded RT television was registered with the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent following a demand from Washington.

USA officials have alleged that Russia Today (RT), used its English-language service to influence the 2016 presidential election in favour of Republican candidate Donald Trump, who had expressed intentions to rebuild the countries' frayed relations. The legislation is the latest tit-for-tat between Russian Federation and the US over government-funded media outlets.

These news outlets were stripped of the right to enter the Russian parliament.

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Mass media, social network users and even websites with small target audience will be obliged to mark their posts with a disclosure that the reposted material was taken from a media outlet recognized as a foreign agent, said State Duma deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoy.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a briefing Friday that Moscow considered the move as a "demonstration of outright discrimination against our media outlets and an attack on freedom of speech".

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