Russia's ex-finance minister regrets adoption of foreign agent media law

The Ministry has already named 9 media outlets to possibly be classified as such: Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its projects, and Nastoyashchee Vremya. "I also regret the media are included in this [group]", he said.

Two weeks ago, RT was pressured by the U.S. Justice Department to formally register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA, or face the likelihood it would be shut down.

Earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the bill on the mass media outlets designated as foreign agents. The US government forced them to registry as "foreign agents".

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Strongly criticised by the NGOS Human Rights Watch and Amnesty global, the law compels such entities to provide information to authorities about their financial situation and to specify in the documents that they produce they are classified as such. "When it comes down to a fight with no rules when the law is twisted and turned into an instrument for the destruction of a TV company, every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response". RT's editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media.

Approved unanimously by the state Duma (the lower house) in mid-November and by the Federation Council (the upper house) this week, the law was published Saturday on the official website of the legal documents of the Russian authorities and is effective immediately.

Intelligence agencies have accused the Kremlin of financing and using Russian media organisations to influence voters.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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