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Putin signs law against internationally funded media

Russian president Vladimir Putin has approved a bill against internationally funded media outlets, forcing them to sign on as "foreign agents".

Published: November 26, 2017, 9:58 am

    The president signed the measure into law on Saturday after it cleared the hurdles of both houses of the Russian parliament in just two weeks.

    The amendments on foreign media went into effect to allow Russian authorities to list outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents”. The law does not apply to Russian media outlets backed by foreign capital.

    Russia’s Ministry of Justice will decide on the listing of international media outlets on a case-by-case basis. The US-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are likely candidates.

    Foreign agents will be made to publish a notice citing foreign-funded content, report on all activities, submit information about management individuals and provide detailed expense reports.

    In September, the US Justice Department ordered the outlets to register as agents of foreign governments citing “Russian meddling” in the 2016 election although the charge has never been proven.

    Also, Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced that the company would engineer algorithms that would make it difficult for articles from RT and Sputnik News to appear on Google.

    Last month, Putin said in response to the US move: “In this case we will do it only in kind and quite quickly. As soon as we see concrete steps limiting the activities of our mass media, a tit-for-tat response will follow immediately.”

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