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

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, files to register as a foreign agent in US

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, files to register as a foreign agent in US

The U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The American affiliation of RT filed all the required document with the U.S. Department of Justice for registration as a foreign agent, RT news service deputy director Alexei Kuznetsov said earlier, adding that the channel had no other choice given the situation it had been forced into.

The editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-run RT news network, Margarita Simonyan, said its USA branch has registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

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. "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".

FARA, passed in the run-up to World War II as a means of exposing pro-Nazi propagandists in the United States, requires that Americans working on behalf of foreign governments register with the US government.

Russian Federation could hit back at all foreign media and not just US -based outlets in retaliation, the Vedomosti business daily reported Monday, with CNN, VOA, Radio Liberty and Deutsche Welle expected to face restrictions. "The law does not restrict registrants from operating, however".

But RT's editor in chief, Margarita Simonyan, said on Monday that it would comply with the demand in order to avoid further legal action by the USA government.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecoms watchdog, has also requested that it be given exceptional powers to block the websites of foreign media outlets and those of non-governmental organisations without first having to seek a court order. "Programs produced cover a broad range of news and talk show topics, reflect balance regarding commentary, and are not aimed to primarily benefit any foreign government or political party".

A January 6 report by the heads of the major U.S. intelligence agencies singled out RT as part of the Kremlin's campaign "to undermine faith in the U.S. government and fuel political protest". Yahoo News has separately reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed a former Sputnik correspondent about his work at the website.

"The war the U.S. establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech". Last week Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that new action against American outlets would come this week.

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