Russia’s Justice Ministry announced today that it has designated nine U.S. government-funded press outlets as “foreign agents,” under a newly expanded law, according to reports. The ministry named the outlets as the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and seven of its affiliates, and Voice of America. Under the law, outlets could be required to disclose to Russian authorities details of their funding, editorial policy, financial activities, and management, according to press reports.
“It is reprehensible that Russia, which restricts its own independent, critical media, is now taking action to obstruct the work of international outlets that provide a vital alternative news source to Russian citizens,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “We call on the Justice Ministry to immediately reverse its anti-press action and to allow a free flow of news in the country.”
The Justice Ministry’s announcement comes a month after the Russian government-funded international news network RT, formerly Russia Today, said that it had complied with a U.S. Department of Justice order to register under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). CPJ described the U.S. action on FARA last month as “ill-advised.”