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Russian Parliament To Bar US Media Named Foreign Agents

Russian Parliament To Bar US Media Named Foreign Agents

Russia's justice ministry on Tuesday designated nine USA media outlets, including the Voice Of America, as "foreign agents".

Russian lawmakers on Monday drafted new regulations that would bar US media designated as foreign agents from accessing parliament's lower house.

The new designation subjects affected USA -backed news outlets to the same requirements that are applied to foreign-funded non-governmental organisations under a 2012 law.

A vote on the measures is expected next week. But the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, planned on Wednesday to ban reporters from any US media declared as foreign agents, following a decision by the US Congress to ban RT last month.

Kremlin-funded RT television was registered with the U.S. Justice Department last month as a foreign agent following a demand from Washington.

The decisions followed a January intelligence agency report that described the outlet as a "state-run propaganda machine" and accused it of helping the Kremlin interfere with the 2016 election.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law last month the measures in response to what Moscow says is unacceptable USA pressure on Russian media.

But Mr Bihr told Sky News there were dangers it could be the beginning of further restrictions.

"The Justice Ministry has singled out the outlets of the USA state propaganda, which systematically broadcast state propaganda 24 hours a day in languages spoken in Russian Federation", he said.

On Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Justice published a list of nine outlets, which includes Russian-language subsidiaries of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that cover the Caucasus region of Russia, Crimea, Siberia, and two predominantly Muslim regions in central Russia, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

"We remain committed to continuing our journalistic work in the interest of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian speaking audience", he said.