Russia to amend law to classify US media ‘foreign agents’

Russian Parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Russia to amend law to classify US media ‘foreign agents’

MOSCOW: Russia’s parliament warned on Friday some US and other foreign media could be declared “foreign agents” and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, said parliament could back legislation as early as next week in response to what lawmakers view as US pressure on Russian media.
“Possible restrictions will be the same as those taken by the United States,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
He said some US media in Russia were trying to turn US public opinion against Moscow.
“We understand that it’s essential to protect the interests of our citizens and the country and we will do this in the same way as the country which lays claim to be the gold standard and mentor and which is constantly talking about freedom.”
Russian lawmakers said the move was retaliation for a demand by the US Department of Justice that Kremlin-backed TV station RT register in the United States as a “foreign agent,” something Moscow has said it regards as an unfriendly act.
The US action against RT came after US intelligence agencies accused Russia of trying to interfere in last year’s US presidential election to help President Donald Trump win the White House, something Moscow has denied.

Russian election
Russia faces a presidential election next March. Vladimir Putin is widely expected to stand again and to win. He remains broadly popular though critics accuse him of suppressing dissent not least by tight control of domestic media.
Lawmakers will conduct a first reading of the new restrictions on Nov. 15 and try to complete approval in two further readings by the end of next week.
US and any other foreign media that fall under the new restrictions could have to regularly disclose to Russian authorities full details of their funding, finances and staffing and might be obliged to say on their social media profiles and Internet sites visible in Russia that they are “foreign agents.”
The Duma earlier this year launched an investigation into whether CNN, Voice of America, Radio Liberty and “other American media” were complying with Russian law.
US government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said last month Moscow had threatened to brand their Russian language service projects “foreign agents” in retaliation for US pressure on RT.
Russia said the same month it had dropped accusations against CNN International of violating Russian media law and that the US channel could continue broadcasting in Russia.
San Francisco-based social network Twitter has also angered Russian authorities when it accused RT and the Sputnik news outlet of interfering in the 2016 US election and banned them from buying ads on its network.


Kim seeks second Trump summit ‘at an early date’: Moon

Updated 47 min 55 sec ago
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Kim seeks second Trump summit ‘at an early date’: Moon

  • Kim and Trump held a historic and high-profile meeting in Singapore in June, where the North’s leader committed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but no details were agreed.
  • Washington and Pyongyang have subsequently sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved.

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hoping for a second summit with US President Donald Trump soon, the South’s President Moon Jae-in said Thursday after a three-day trip to his neighbor.
“Chairman Kim Jong Un expressed hopes for a second summit with President Trump at an early date,” Moon told reporters on his return to Seoul.
Kim and Trump held a historic and high-profile meeting in Singapore in June, where the North’s leader committed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but no details were agreed.
Washington and Pyongyang have subsequently sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved, with the Trump administration consistently referring to the denuclearization of North Korea specifically.
The process had become deadlocked until Moon’s trip to Pyongyang, where Kim agreed to permanently dismantle a missile testing site.
Experts were skeptical but the Trump administration immediately welcomed the move, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo inviting his North Korean counterpart to meet next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Kim also hoped Pompeo would soon visit the North again, Moon said, and was seeking “fast progress in denuclearization.”