(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.