After the US Department of Justice issued a demand to RT America to register as a foreign agent, and Twitter banned ads from RT and Sputnik, Vladimir Putin promised to respond in a reciprocal manner, calling the attack on Russian media an attack on the freedom of speech.
The mirror response was unanimously supported yesterday at a meeting of the Russia’s State Duma Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications Committee. Such a response was the amendments to Article 15.3 of the Federal Law "On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection". The chairman of the information policy committee in the lower house Leonid Levin explained that the law requests all media outlets operating in Russia but funded from abroad to register as foreign agents. Such organizations to be applied by rules of the federal law that regulate the activities of non-profit organizations operating as foreign agents.
Levin promised that the amendment would not be used to restrict freedom of speech and obstruct the work of journalists in Russia: "The bill is a reciprocal act in regards to the activities of the US authorities in terms of the Russian media, competing with their largest television channels" .
The changes will not affect the Russian media outlets, including those funded from abroad. The entry of the law into force does not mean that all information resources operating in Russia will be automatically by it. "It will be up to Russia's Ministry of Justice to decide after further study whom to list as foreign agents," Leonid Levin explained.
Meanwhile, Andrey Klimov, the deputy chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs, said yesterday at a press conference, "today we heard that our RT and Sputnik outlets agreed with the demands of the US authorities. In accordance with this legislation, they receive a number of encumbrances."
"Unfortunately, this sad fact is not an isolated case. Unfortunately, this is a special case of a large number of facts, plans and intentions of our so-called partners, primarily from abroad, whose aim is to grossly interfere in the internal affairs of our country, to discard Russia, or, as they say, to deter Russia, and ultimately, change our political system, as they call it to improve Russian democracy. This was fixed by the US law, which is entrusted to the US Secretary of State. In this situation, we have to live and work," Klimov complained.
He also noted that, in addition to the western direction, there is still a threat from both the South and the East.
"I hope that by the end of November we will be able to discuss and adopt it so that the president has the opportunity to sign the relevant normative acts and that our recommendations on mirror adequate measures were implemented before the expiration of this month," Klimov said.