The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has commented on Moscow’s response to possible US restrictions on the work of RT in the country.
“Everything that would be done in relation to Russian journalists and RT reporters on the territory of the United States we qualified as restricting activity, we may use the same measures toward US media on Russian territory,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview with channel NTV, commenting on Moscow’s response to pressure on RT as US lawmakers have been questioning whether the Russian broadcaster should have been registered under FARA.
She went on to explain that, according to a Russian law on media adopted in 1991, “if restrictive measures are applied to Russian media in any country, it could be adequately responded to with measures toward correspondents of that country, who work in the territory of the Russian Federation,” adding that the same article is mentioned in the rules of foreign correspondents’ accreditation in Russia.
“In this case, the whole existing machine is applied to our channel, including an administrative resource, including propaganda in the US,” she said, commenting on possible restrictions for RT’s work in the US.
The statement comes as RT and Sputnik News Agency have come under intense scrutiny in the United States, with US lawmakers questioning whether RT should have been registered under FARA and, most recently, asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to look into Sputnik Radio. Moreover, the FBI reportedly questioned former Sputnik reporter Andrew Feinberg as part of an investigation into allegations that Sputnik is acting as an agency of foreign political propaganda in September, with Moscow saying that it “reserves the right to respond to the outrageous actions of the American side.”
RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commented on possible “illegal” restrictions for the work of the Russian broadcaster, saying that RT might cease its activities in the United States due to increasing pressure from the country’s authorities. At the same time, the Kremlin said on Friday that Moscow is not ruling out responsive measures if Russian media outlets in the United States will be further oppressed, adding that Russian media outlets in the US face “unprecedented pressure” in violation of the principle of the freedom of speech.
Last week, media reported that the US Senate Intelligence Committee asked senior managers from Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify in front of the US Congress at a public hearing scheduled for October as part of the probe into Russia’s alleged attempts to use social media to influence the November 2016 election, a claim repeatedly denounced by Russian officials.
In the latest development, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Google, which owns YouTube, has dropped RT from its package of popular channels aimed at advertisers.
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