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Russia moves ahead with plan to crack down on foreign media

Russia moves ahead with plan to crack down on foreign media
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Russia's lower house of Parliament on Tuesday approved an amendment that would require media outlets that receive funding from abroad to register as foreign agents, CNN reports.

The measure next heads to Russia's upper chamber before heading to Russian President Vladimir Putin's desk for a signature.

Tuesday's move was Russia's first reported response to the Justice Department's decision to force Russian broadcaster RT to register as a foreign agent in the United States.

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Registering as a foreign agent in Russia requires broadcasters to place a content warning in front of all produced news, report funding to the government and be available for inspections.

Foreign agents operating in the U.S. must report to the Justice Department on their activities and funding. RT was singled out by U.S. intelligence communities for playing a key role in Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

The broadcaster "conducts strategic messaging for [the] Russian government" and "seeks to influence politics, [and] fuel discontent in the U.S." according to the intelligence community's report released in January.

RT registered as a foreign agent this month after previously threatening a lawsuit over the designation.

"Between the criminal case and the registration we chose the latter, and we congratulate the American freedom of speech and everyone who still believes in it," RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said of the foreign agent designation.

Previously, Simonyan said on the network that designating RT as a foreign agent could have negative consequences for U.S. news agencies operating in Russia.

"If RT leaves the U.S., American media might stop broadcasting in Russia," Simonyan said in October.