Russia To Require Foreign Media To Register As Foreign Agents The Russian parliament is expected to amend the country's media law on Wednesday to allow the Kremlin to register international media outlets as "foreign agents."
NPR logo

Russia To Require Foreign Media To Register As Foreign Agents

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/564272323/564272324" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Russia To Require Foreign Media To Register As Foreign Agents

Russia To Require Foreign Media To Register As Foreign Agents

Russia To Require Foreign Media To Register As Foreign Agents

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/564272323/564272324" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Russian parliament is expected to amend the country's media law on Wednesday to allow the Kremlin to register international media outlets as "foreign agents."

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Covering Russia could get tougher for foreign reporters there. Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed legislation today requiring international media to declare themselves as foreign agents. And as NPR's Lucian Kim reports, this is payback.

LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: Back in January, U.S. intelligence agencies said Russian government news channel RT was part of a Kremlin effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. As a result, the Justice Department demanded the RT register as a foreign agent in the United States, which the channel did on Monday under protest. That same day Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov visited RT's Washington bureau to show his support.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANATOLY ANTONOV: It seems to me that it's very important that you can explain everybody the reality in the world.

KIM: Meanwhile in Moscow, the parliament scrambled to adapt legislation to hit back at U.S. media working in Russia. Under the changes made today, foreign media that get financing from abroad may have to register as foreign agents. Russia's justice ministry will determine which outlets will have to sign up.

The amendments were passed unanimously by a vote of 414-0. Sponsors of the changes say they won't restrict press freedom but are only a reciprocal response to the U.S. requirement. Russian TV commentator Konstantin Eggert says the legislation will have a chilling effect.

KONSTANTIN EGGERT: There'll be definitely a much more cold and frozen climate for foreign media in Russia. No bureaucrats, no civil servants will be willing to cooperate with foreign media in such a climate.

KIM: The New-York-based Committee to Protect Journalists is condemning the changes. It says the Justice Department's actions against RT were ill advised, but it's calling the Russian government's response punitive and outrageous. Lucian Kim, NPR News, Moscow.

(SOUNDBITE OF KILLER MIKE AND EL-P'S "SEA LEGS")

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.