Russia seek to retaliate the United States by forcing u.s. media outlets to register as foreign agents.
The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament voted on Wednesday to bar correspondents of U.S. mass media, including The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, from attending its sessions, the Interfax news agency reported.
On Tuesday, these two media outlets were officially designated as “foreign agents” by Russia’s justice ministry, a move aimed at complicating their work in retaliation for what Moscow says is unacceptable U.S. pressure on Russian media.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Heather Nauert, told reporters Tuesday that the move is “wrong” and added that the State Department is concerned that the new status might result in harassment of U.S. journalists.
Moscow’s action Tuesday came in retaliation to Washington’s move last month forcing a U.S.-based affiliate of Kremlin-funded RT, formerly known as Russia Today, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, also known as “FARA.” The act requires people acting as agents of foreign governments to publicly disclose their relationship.
Last week, the committee of journalists that issues credentials for media access to cover the U.S. Congress withdrew accreditation for RT, citing the FARA registration. Russian officials have called the new legislation, passed on Wednesday, a “symmetrical response” to what they describe as U.S. pressure on Russian media