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Putin Says Pressure on Russian Media Abroad ‘Unacceptable’

Sept. 29, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin called the current pressure put on Russia-based media abroad "unacceptable," Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik today. During Putin’s meeting with the Russian Security Council today, American actions against freedom of the press were discussed.

On Sept. 28, Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, stated that an RT broadcaster was asked to register as a foreign agent. Otherwise, RT was told, it might face restrictions that would make it unable to continue work in the United States.

Earlier in September, Sputnik reports, the U.S. Justice Department told an RT contractor in the United States to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). In June U.S. Congressmen introduced the Foreign Agent Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act, which would broaden the scope of FARA to include Russian broadcaster RT, by expanding the Department of Justice’s authority to investigate attempts to "unlawfully influence the political process."

This new bill empowers the U.S. Department of Justice, including the FBI, to identify and prosecute organizations that "illegally" try to influence the political processes in the United States.

It was also reported Sept. 11 that the FBI had questioned former Sputnik employee Andrew Feinberg as part of the investigation of reports that Sputnik International allegedly acted as a Russian propaganda agency in violation of FARA.

The FBI, Sputnik reports, claimed it had access to Sputnik’s working correspondence from Feinberg and another former employee of Sputnik’s Washington Bureau, Joseph John Fionda. The FBI itself has not responded to Sputnik’s inquiry on whether it is being investigated by the FBI.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov denounced the move as violating freedom of the press, while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow "reserves the right to respond to the outrageous actions of the American side."