ibusinesslines.com December 17, 2018

Russia's RT America Registers as 'Foreign Agent' in United States

14 November 2017, 02:24 | Erica Roy

Russia's RT America Registers as 'Foreign Agent' in United States

RT disputes that it is an agent of the Russian government arguing that it offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage

Numerous lawmakers have called upon RT to register as a foreign agent since the election.

RT, which is funded by the Russian government, said in September that the Justice Department had asked the network to register as a foreign agent.

"Between legal action and registration, we have chosen the latter", RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan tweeted Monday.

In the Friday filing, T&R states the production of its programs "remains under the independent editorial control of registrant, " adding that T&R "respectfully disagrees that FARA should apply".

Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente asserted Monday that this is proper enforcement of FARA.

FARA requires detailed disclosures of the activities of individuals and organizations that attempt to influence US policy or public opinion for foreign governments and government-controlled organizations.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a demand to RT America, a subsidiary of the Moscow-based RT channel, to register as a foreign agent until November 13.

Russian Federation has threatened to retaliate against USA media after American authorities targeted RT. In January, the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency released a declassified report alleging that RT had sought to undermine the USA elections with "consistently negative" coverage of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said last week that the USA sanctions against RT should prompt similar measures against American mass media and its "unconcealed interference" in Russia's internal politics.

The assessment also said RT America "has positioned itself as a domestic United States channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian government, " but behind the scenes, "the Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging due to their ideological beliefs".

Russia is poised to list US media outlets as "foreign agents" by extending legislation used to restrict the activities of civil society groups, Vyacheslav Volodin, Russia's speaker of the lower house of parliament, said Friday in comments posted on the State Duma's website.

Foreign governments and political parties are required to register with the DOJ under FARA, in addition to the lobbyists and public relations firms they hire. FARA was first passed in 1938 in the lead up to World War Two in an effort to combat German propaganda efforts.

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