Russia has moved closer to introducing a law that will allow the government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.
The proposal, in retaliation for Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT being told to register as a foreign agent in the US, has been unanimously approved at the lower house of parliament.
US-backed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty could be hit. RT is accused of being part of Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election.
The Russian proposal would affect foreign-registered media outlets which receive funding from outside Russia. They would be subject to additional requirements and failure to meet them could result in the suspension of their activities.
“This decision that we’re taking is a forced one, none of us wanted to take such a decision, and it will not influence freedom of speech in our country at all,” said Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, according to RIA news agency.