World News

Russian Upper House Approves Foreign Agent Media Law

Russian Upper House Approves Foreign Agent Media Law

The Federation Council approved the law, according to which the media receiving funding from other States from overseas, can be recognized in the Russian Federation foreign agents.

A total of 154 senators voted in favor of the document, and one abstained. Under the law, any foreign-funded media outlet may be designated a foreign agent by the Justice Ministry.

The bill was introduced to the State Duma, the lower house, and adopted by MPs on November 15.

It takes effect after President Vladimir Putin signs it into law.

This measure was a response to the demand of the US Department of Justice to RT America, a US branch of the Russian television company, to register as a foreign agent. They will also face a similar responsibility for such NGOs for breaching this legislation.

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The worldwide rights organization Amnesty global has said the legislation would deal a "serious blow" to media freedom in Russia, although Russian officials have said it would not apply to domestic media.

RT television, which is funded by the Kremlin to give a Russian point of view on global affairs, confirmed this month it had registered as a foreign agent in the United States, meeting a deadline from the US Department of Justice.

Visiting the Moscow bureau of RFE/RL and VOA on November 17, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said that the Russian legislation was a "big concern" for the United States and that "the principles of free media in any free society and democracy are absolutely critical for strength and well-being".

The Federation Council supported the legislation during a vote on Wednesday.


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