MOSCOW, September 28 (Sputnik) — Earlier in September, the US Department of Justice asked a contractor of the RT in the United States to register under Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), while in June US congressmen introduced the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act bill, which would broaden the scope of FARA to include RT, by expanding DoJ authority to investigate attempts to "unlawfully influence the political process."
"We are asked to register as a foreign agent. This may entail restrictions that will simply prevent us from working in the country [United States]," Simonyan said Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry commented on the US Department of Justice's demands to register RT America channel's services provider as a foreign agent under FARA, saying that every move in relation to a Russian media will have a relevant response.
FARA dictates that all agents publishing informational materials in the United States on behalf of foreign principals should register. Such agents would then have to add a visible statement of affiliation to their platforms, including websites and social media. The legislation does not include news or press agencies and associations as long as they are at least 80 percent owned by citizens of the United States and are not "owned, directed, supervised, controlled, subsidized, or financed, and none of its policies are determined by any foreign principal defined" in the text of the legislation. Besides, the exemptions include organizations engaged in "bona fide news or journalistic activities."
Earlier in September, US Congressman David Cecilline suggested that RT should be registered under FARA, claiming that it would still be able to operate as it does now.
On September 11, RT America channel's services provider in the US received a letter from the US Department of Justice demanding that the company should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The letter was received amid the discussions on a bill in the US lower house aimed at amending requirements for registration of foreign agents under FARA.
The bill, among all, empowers the US DOJ, including the Federal Investigations Bureau (FBI), to identify and prosecute organizations that "illegally" try to influence the political processes in the United States.
The same day it was reported that the FBI had questioned former Sputnik employee Andrew Feinberg as part of the investigation of reports that the news outlet allegedly acted as a Russian propaganda agency in violation of FARA.
It was claimed that the FBI had access to Sputnik's working correspondence from Feinberg and another former employee of Sputnik's Washington bureau, Joseph John Fionda. The FBI itself has not responded to Sputnik's inquiry on whether it was conducting an investigation into the news agency.
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced the move as contradicting pluralism and freedom of the press, while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova highlighted that Moscow "reserves the right to respond to the outrageous actions of the American side."