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Russia lawmakers approve foreign media law

[JURIST] Russia's State Duma [official website, in Russian], the lower house of parliament, voted unanimously [legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian; legislative materials, in Russian] Thursday to require foreign media organizations to label their materials as the work of foreign agents.

Additionally, the law could potentially force media organizations to disclose [AI report] their sources of funding, finances and staffing.

Two broadcasters with ties to the US, which operate seven regional affiliates throughout Russia, stated they received letters [Current Time report, in Russian] from the Russian Justice Ministry indicating they could be affected should the bill become law.

Next, the amendments will go to a vote [BBC report] by the Federation Council [official website], the upper house of parliament, and then to President Vladimir Putin for signature.

International media sees the vote as retaliation by Russia [Guardian report] against the US Department of Justice's [official website] requirement that RT, a Russian media outlet formerly known as Russia Today, register [press release] under the Foreign Agent Registration Act [text, PDF; regulations, PDF] as an agent for the Russian government.

Earlier this year a report [JURIST report] by the US intelligence community determined that "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election." In September an investigative report [NYT report] alleged that RT's goal is to improve Russia's image abroad and "undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

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