Tit-For-Tat Expected in US-Russia 'Media War'

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The Russian justice ministry sent letters to "a number of United States media operating in Russia" warning them of the "unacceptability of breaching Russian law", its press service said in a statement quoted by Interfax news agency.

The Justice Ministry said that it has informed Radio Liberty and 2 other U.S. media outlets of possible restrictions under the "foreign agent" law.

American media outlets could soon see new operational barriers in Russia as punishment for USA scrutiny over Russian state-funded outlet RT, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry told Russian broadcaster NTV on Sunday. The ministry warned that other restrictions envisaged by Russian laws may be imposed of such mass media. "The activities of such media outlets may be subjected to other restrictions provided for by the current legislation of the Russian Federation", the ministry said in a statement.

The source said the letters had gone out to media including the Voice of America multimedia broadcaster and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its regional websites, one of which specialises in news from Moscow-annexed Crimea.

The registration would not stop the organization from operating, but requires regularly submitted paperwork that lists its sources of foreign government-tied revenue and the contacts it makes in the United States, and it would require any reporting to be labeled as being influenced or financed by the Russian government.

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"What we're doing is strictly retaliatory measures, they will be balanced, appropriate and specifically targeted", said Andrei Klimov, a Russian senator who heads a committee on defending Russia against external interference.

RT said it faces a USA demand to register as a foreign agent and provide detailed personal data for its staff, a request it said amounts to an attempt to push it out of the U.S.

Current Time is a 24-hour Russian-language television and digital news network aimed at audiences in Russia, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world.

RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commented on possible "illegal" restrictions for the work of the Russian broadcaster, saying that RT might cease its activities in the United States due to increasing pressure from the country's authorities.

"We have never used Russian law in relation to foreign correspondents as a lever of pressure, or censorship, or some kind of political influence, never", she said.

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