“Over the past couple of years, the Kremlin has been tirelessly building a media echo chamber that shuts out critical voices, both inside Russia and from abroad.”
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had described the US demand of RT as an attack on freedom of speech and warned that Russia would retaliate.
Russia’s lower house of parliament has unanimously approved a bill allowing the government to register international media outlets as “foreign agents”, days after the US demanded the same of the Russian state-funded RT television channel.
Associated Press and contributed to this report
They can also be subjected to spot checks by authorities to make sure they comply with the rules. Any information they publish has to include a mention that the source of the information is a “foreign agent”, according to the legislation.
Its passing follows RT registering with the US Justice Department after claims from US intelligence agencies that the television channel served as a Kremlin tool to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Russia has denied any interference.
The law could require designated media outlets to disclose where they get their funding and how they spend it, though the bill does not specify on what basis foreign media would be compelled to register.