- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2017

Russian anger over a U.S. demand that its state-owned RT news network formally register as a foreign agent could lead to a far greater retaliation, hitting both American and other international news outlets reporting in Russia.

The Vedomosti business newspaper reported over the weekend that all foreign media in Russia could be affected by the move, which would impose the same reporting and disclosure requirements on media outlets that were included in a 2012 crackdown on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country.

One amendment reportedly being considered in the State Duma would allow the state’s Prosecutor General’s office to block “undesirable organizations” from posting their content on Russia’s internet.

The U.S. move against RT came in the wake of a simmering controversy over suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Russian Vladimir Putin again denied the meddling charges in a conversation with President Trump last week in Vietnam, and vowed to hit back if the U.S. acted.

“An attack on our media is an attack on freedom of speech,” Mr. Putin told reporters covering the East Asian summit in Vietnam. “…There will be a proper tit-for-tat response.”

The Moscow Times reported that Russian lawmakers have already singled out U.S. media outlets such as CNN, the Voice of America and Radio Liberty as possible targets in light of the RT move. Vedomosti later reported that the Dumawas considering a much broader move, covering other Western and international press outlets.

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