Russia Poised To Force Journalists To Register As Foreign Agents

Russian Bill Labeling Individuals 'Foreign Agents' Passes First Reading

Russian Bill Labeling Individuals 'Foreign Agents' Passes First Reading

The bill that passed the first reading at the State Duma on Friday allows the government to designate individuals who are "performing the function of a media outlet" as foreign agents.

"When distributing and quoting materials created by foreign media, they will have to reveal that a foreign agent was their source of information", he said.

If this is not done, the authorities will order communications operators to block access to such media.

Russia's parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill that could oblige some journalists to register as foreign agents.

In December, Russia's Ministry of Justice blacklisted USA government-funded Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and seven of their subsidiaries as foreign agents.

In December 2017, Russia imposed restrictions on US state-funded news outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, calling each of them "foreign agent", after the USA imposed similar measures on Russian state-funded broadcaster RT.

US authorities have accused Russian media of influencing public opinion during the 2016 presidential election by spreading fake news.

"The Moldovan law represents "explicit discrimination against Russian media", Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS".