RT says it will register as a foreign agent in the U.S.
RT, formerly known as “Russia Today”, a Russian state-funded website and television channel that operates as disinformation outlet for the Kremlin, will register with U.S. authorities as a foreign agent, its editor said Thursday.
RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan announced on Thursday that her television network has decided to register in the United States as a foreign agent, in accordance with the Justice Department’s demands.“The American Justice Department has left us no choice: the lawyers say the company’s management in America could be arrested and its bank accounts could be seized, if we don’t register as a foreign agent. The company simply would be unable to function in this situation,” Simonyan explained, saying the U.S. government’s demands are “discriminatory” and contrary to the “principles of democracy and free speech.” She says the requirement to register under FARA puts RT at a disadvantage, compared to other foreign TV networks operating in the United States. Simonyan has also vowed to challenge the Justice Department in court.
Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was adopted in 1938 to combat Nazi and Communist propaganda. In the 1960s, the law was reformed so it could be used to control lobbyists working for foreign states. Since 1995, FARA has identified “political activity” as actions intended to influence any state agency or official or any section of the American public “with reference to formulating, adopting, or changing the domestic or foreign policies of the United States.”