Russia Targeted US-Backed Media While GOP Senators Visited Moscow

(From The Washington Examiner)

Russian lawmakers cracked down on Voice of America and other U.S.-funded media outlets while U.S. lawmakers visited Moscow, which drew a rebuke from the State Department.

“The Russian government continues to stifle press freedom and media independence,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Friday evening. “This bill could provide the Russian government a new tool to target independent journalists and bloggers in retaliation for their work.”

A committee of lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s legislature, advanced legislation that would force reporters who work for Voice of America and other U.S.-backed outlets to register individually as foreign agents. The move is seen as retaliation for the Justice Department’s decision to brand Kremlin-backed outlets as foreign agents for spreading disinformation during the 2016 elections. . . .

Russia labeled the two media outlets “foreign agents” after the Justice Department required RT, formerly known as Russia Today, to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. American intelligence officials identified RT as a leading purveyor of information designed to “denigrate” 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But the Russian lawmakers moved to expend the foreign agent designation to individual writers on Tuesday.

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