Russia lists US media organisations as foreign agents

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s Justice Ministry yesterday listed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as foreign agents, a move that could see them lose their reporting credentials in the Russian parliament.

The announcement comes amid an escalating tit-for-tat between Russia and the US over government-funded media outlets.

Kremlin-funded RT television was registered with the US Justice Department last month as a foreign agent following a demand from Washington. In retaliation, Russia adopted a bill that allows the government to designate international media outlets as foreign agents.

After the committee that governs Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists withdrew credentials for RT last week, the Russian parliament vowed also to ban access for media organisations listed as foreign agents.

A committee at the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, last Monday recommended a ban. The vote is expected later this week.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at the hearing at the Duma on Monday that the ministry supports the ban as a response to what Moscow sees as attacks on RT in the US. She insisted, however, that the foreign ministry would not strip any foreign media outlets of their credentials or undermine their work.