Russia's RT Registers as Foreign Agent in US

The studio control room of Russia Today  Zurab Javakhadze  TASS

The studio control room of Russia Today Zurab Javakhadze TASS

Russian Ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, on Monday voiced support to the journalists working for the American affiliation of the Russian television channel RT, which had to register itself as a foreign agent pursuant to demands of the USA authorities, the embassy press service told TASS. The company said it has editorial control over the programs it produces, with on-air talent given reasonable creative discretion. In January, the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency released a declassified report alleging that RT had sought to undermine the USA elections with "consistently negative" coverage of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The 1938 law, created to target Nazi propaganda, has been the driving force behind escalating U.S. -Russia tensions in recent weeks.

A January assessment by USA intelligence agencies described RT America TV as "a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, [which] has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties". The two countries targeted each other in tit-for-tat diplomatic measures after America toughened sanctions on Russian Federation for election meddling. "For which we congratulate American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it".

Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of Russia's Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists Thursday that the Department of Justice is playing a "dirty political game" by targeting "selected" Russian media outlets.

"The war the United States establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech".

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FARA was passed in the run-up to World War II as a means of exposing pro-Nazi propagandists in the United States, and it requires Americans working on behalf of foreign governments to register with the USA government.

US government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), CNN and Germany's Deutsche Welle could all be affected by the retaliatory measures, a senior Russian lawmaker said earlier on Monday. TASS, the Soviet-era news service, registered under FARA.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations of election meddling and said it views the actions against RT as an unfriendly act.

Mikhail Solodovnikov, who is RT's news director for America and the person who incorporated the company in April 2014, disclosed his salary as $670,000 per year.

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