Putin signs amendments to Russia's 'foreign agents' media law

Russian President Signs 'Foreign Agents' Media Legislation

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed the law on the introduction of amendments regarding the foreign agent status for foreign media outlets funded from overseas to the article six of the 1991 legislation on media.

The amendments to the law "On the media" allow the Russian Ministry of Justice to deem "legal entities registered in foreign states or foreign structures without a legal entity foreign agents" if they spread information "for the general public".

The U.S. government and intelligence community have accused RT, formerly known as Russia Today, of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin.

The Russian law labels media outlets as foreign agents if they receive funding from overseas, the government-owned TASS news agency reported. State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 USA general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied meddling in the election and said the restrictions on Russian broadcasters in the United States are an attack on free speech.

In September, Maria Zakharova, director of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the US should anticipate pushback for its actions against state-funded Russian media.

The Justice Department said the action did not inhibit freedom of expression or restrict news content, and requires only "registration, labeling of informational materials and broadcasts, and recordkeeping". On November 15, the third and final reading of the bill was approved by Russia's lower house of parliament, State Duma.

Earlier this month, Zakharova suggested that "a practical phase of these response measures" against US media in Russian Federation were set to begin within a week.

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