Moscow/Washington, Nov 14 (IANS) The Russian international news network RT America has registered as a “foreign agent” in the US at the request of the Department of Justice, the outlet’s editor-in-chief has announced.
“Between a criminal case and the registration we chose the latter. Congratulations to the US freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it,” Margarita Simonyan said in a statement on Monday.
Last week, the DOJ demanded that RT America should register as a foreign agent by November 13 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) enacted in 1938, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Act requires “persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities”.
After Simonyan’s announcement, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente said: “Americans have a right to know who is acting in the US to influence the U.S. government or public on behalf of foreign principals.
“The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing FARA and expects compliance with the law by all entities engaged in specified activities on behalf of any foreign principal, regardless of its nationality.”
US authorities accused Russian media outlets of influencing public opinion during the 2016 presidential election by spreading fake news.
Social media giant Twitter announced last month that it would ban advertisements from Russia’s RT and Sputnik news agencies.
Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin said they would take a “tit for tat” measure against American outlets in Russia in retaliation for the pressure on RT, reports CNN.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that new action against American outlets would come this week.
With its first international news channel launched in December 2005, RT is a global news network that includes seven TV channels, digital platforms in six languages and a video news agency Ruptly.