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As a media war between Russia and the U.S. continues, Kremlin-funded TV network RT has reluctantly complied with the Justice Department and registered as a foreign agent, insisting the requirement to do so is an “infringement of freedom of speech.”
“Between a criminal case and registration [as a foreign agent], we chose the latter,” Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor in chief, said on the network’s website. “So we congratulate the U.S.’ freedom of speech and everyone who still believes in it.”
She had said earlier: “[The Justice Department’s] demand is discriminative, it runs counter to the principles of democracy and the freedom of speech.”
Russian ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov also condemned the registration requirement. “Is it good or bad? I think it’s bad,” he was quoted as saying by Russian TV network Zvezda. “We consider it an unfriendly step.”
The Justice Department had demanded that RT, which has been accused of spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda, register as a foreign agent amid an investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Russia has emphatically denied the allegations and promised retaliation for what it considers to be unfair treatment of a Russian media outlet.
There will be retaliation for the move, and it will affect specific U.S. news outlets, Yevgeny Revenko, a member of the information policy committee at the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, was quoted as saying by news agency RIA Novosti.
Last month, Twitter said it would ban advertising from accounts associated with RT and another Kremlin-supported outlet, news website Sputnik.
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