RT fires back after Capitol Hill press credentials pulled

RT fires back after Capitol Hill press credentials pulled

A Russian news network is pushing back after the Congressional Radio and TV Correspondents' gallery pulled its media credentials on Capitol Hill earlier this week, suggesting that their organization is being singled out over other foreign press outlets.

The decision to take away RT's credentials came after the network registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registrations Act (FARA) earlier this month. Any foreign entity that does work in the United States on behalf of a foreign government, political party or official is required by law to register. 

“To all the self-righteous defenders of the 'freedom of speech' who oh-so-ardently proclaimed that FARA registration places no restrictions whatsoever on RT's journalistic work in the US: withdrawal of Congressional credentials speaks much louder than empty platitudes," RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said in a Thursday statement.

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"And, to borrow from Orwell, all 'foreign agents' are equal, but it looks like only RT is denied congressional accreditation on the basis of FARA status, while the likes of NHK and China People’s Daily carry on business as usual, and US officials continue to claim that the forced FARA registration for RT America's operating company isn't at all discriminatory,” she continued.

Radio-Television Correspondents' Association Chairman Craig Caplan announced on Wednesday that the gallery would no longer grant RT Capitol Hill press credentials.

"The rules of the Galleries state clearly that news credentials may not be issued to any applicant employed by any 'foreign government or representative thereof,'" Caplan wrote in a letter to RT news director Mikhail Solodovnikov, according to CNN.

"Upon its registration as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registrations Act (FARA), RT Network became ineligible to hold news credentials," Caplan continued.

RT pushed back against the Justice Department's pressure to register as a foreign agent amid several ongoing congressional and federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law touted as a symmetrical response to the registration of RT under FARA, giving Kremlin the authority to make international media register as foreign agents as well as disclose their sources of funding.