US Probe Into RT, Sputnik: FARA May Not be Bad Until There is 'Suppression'

© Sputnik / Igor Russak / Go to the mediabankStand of the Sputnik International Information Agency. (File)
Stand of the Sputnik International Information Agency. (File) - Sputnik International
By lambasting the Senate Intelligence Committee for ignoring "fake news" spread by US media, President Donald Trump may have unintentionally supported the Russian outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, which have recently come under scrutiny from US authorities.

In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Stephen Ebert, an independent political analyst, underscored that when it comes to media, including RT and Sputnik, a difference should be made between registering as a foreign agent in accordance with the law and "suppression," but "if registering as a foreign agent is going to damage RT’s ability to get a different view out … it is very concerning."

"I can’t imagine [Russian] President Vladimir Putin saying, 'we’re going to cut off CNN,'" he said adding that registering as a foreign agent may not be a "horrendous thing;" but if this means limiting the broadcaster capabilities it will be a "terrible problem."

Addressing his audience on Twitter, the president claimed Thursday that the intelligence committee has to probe US media to understand "why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!"

​As an example of a fresh "fake" story, Trump referred to a recent report by NBC News claiming that US State Secretary Rex Tillerson threated to step down.

Despite the fact that Trump did not mention RT, or Sputnik in his heated Twitter call, his criticism is still remarkable.

Trump’s crusade against "fake news" has been ongoing since his presidential campaign, when the first claims in US media emerged that Russia was allegedly trying to help the Republican candidate make his way to the Oval Office.

Among the media outlets slammed by the president for "fake news" reports include The New York Times, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS.

Russia Today logo - Sputnik International
US Policy on RT Part of Larger Offensive on Russia - Russian Ex-Ambassador to US
Earlier in September, the US Department of Justice asked the company that runs the channel in the United States to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Moreover, in June, a US congressmen introduced a Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act bill. The latter would provide the Justice Department with increased investigative authority to identify and prosecute entities that allegedly seek to unlawfully influence the US political process.

Russia has faced multiple accusations on the part of US officials and media of alleged interference in the US presidential election, although the claims have not been substantiated. Top Russian officials have repeatedly denied these allegations and stressed that Russia avoids interfering in other states’ domestic affairs.

"The order to register under this law is illegitimate. The US lawyers tell us that this demand is illegitimate and contradicts US legislation," RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said.

RT and Sputnik have come under intense scrutiny in the United States, with US lawmakers questioning whether RT should have been registered under FARA and, most recently, asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to look into Sputnik Radio.

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