Russia blacklisted the U.S.-government funded media outlets Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) as “foreign agents” Tuesday, acting in retaliation for a similar move the United States made against Russia's state-owned Russia Today (RT) news network.
The outlets, along with seven under them, are set to face a number of restrictions, with the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to adopt a bill Wednesday that will ban the outlets’ entry in Russia. The Federation Council, or the upper house, is expected to do the same.
Andrei Klimov, head of the Federation Council's Commission on State Sovereignty Protection, also told media that another bill will impose fines on those who distribution information without the disclaimer of their “foreign agent status.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) on RT, forcing it to register as a “foreign agent” for allegedly spreading “fake news” during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
The FARA was originally enacted in 1938 to counter pro-Nazi groups in the U.S. that posed a threat to the country during World War II. RT has become the only media outlet registered under the act at present.
"Our countermeasures should be mirror-like and precisely targeted. They should not spread on all media," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Monday, saying Moscow will not restrict all U.S. media in the country.
She added that they would lift the ban should the United States do the same.