Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to allow his government to list any international media operating in the country as a 'foreign agent' in retaliation towards the US government's tirade against Russian broadcaster RT.
The law will mean that international media companies which receive funding from outside Russia will be subjected to additional requirements, and failure to meet them could result in the suspension of their activities.
If they are required to register, the companies will have to say in their broadcasts and on their websites that they are foreign agents.
At least nine US-funded broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, could be hit by the new measures.
The measure was signed in response to a similar measure taken by the US Department of Justice against Russian state-funded broadcaster RT, which claimed last week that it had been requested to register as a foreign agent in the US.
The measure would require RT to label anything it produces, making it clear its reports will be distributed on behalf of the Russian state. The broadcaster said it would challenge the requirement in court.
The US government and intelligence community both accused RT, formerly known as Russia Today, of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin and of spreading false information during the 2016 presidential election. The broadcaster denied the claim.
Russia previously denied it interfered in last year's US presidential election. However, in September, Facebook said ‘inauthentic’ Russian accounts spent up to $100K on ads throughout the US Presidential race.
Furthermore, in October Twitter announced it would no longer allow RT and Sputnik to advertise on its platform citing evidence that both outlets attempted to interfere in last year’s US election on behalf of the Russian government.