Moscow’s retaliation against the Western news media in response to the U.S. government’s decision to force RT to register as a foreign agent will include amendments to Russia’s law on undesirable organizations, an unnamed source familiar with the legislation told the newspaper Vedomosti.
The reforms are being rushed through the State Duma, where deputies are expected to pass a final reading by Wednesday, November 15. Lawmakers are also reportedly considering expanding Russia’s own law on foreign agents to news outlets.
On Thursday, November 9, RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan announced that her television network has been left with “no choice” but to register as a foreign agent in the United States.America’s Foreign Agents Registration Act typically applies to groups lobbying on behalf of foreign governments, but the FARA registry does include a few foreign media outlets, as well. Organizations registered under FARA, however, are permitted to continue publishing and broadcasting.
On November 10, a leading Duma official said Russia’s retaliatory measures would include new restrictions on the social media accounts of certain Western media outlets. Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal censor, said on November 9 that it's drafted what appears to be the harshest retaliatory proposal of all: measures that would establish “a special procedure” for “suspending and terminating the activities” of foreign media outlets.