Western Journalism By Jack Davis Posted Mon., Nov.13, 2017
An outgrowth of Capitol Hill’s investigations into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election could mean that CNN will be banned in Russia as early as this week.
The Russian news organization RT, which gets its funding from the Russian government, is being required to register as a foreign agent. That’s the equivalent of saying that it works for the government of Russia.
In response, Russia may require CNN to also register as a foreign agent if it wants to continue to broadcast in the country. That would vastly impact CNN’s ability to report the news and be visible in Russia.
“I think that our patience that is nearly run out will take some legal shape. I don’t rule out it will be done next week,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a TV interview last week, according to the Russian news service TASS.
RT has said it will register, but under protest.
The news organization claims that the U.S. is discriminating against it and that although Russia’s government funds RT, it does not dictate coverage.
“The war the U.S. establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech,” said Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor in chief. “Those who invented it, have buried it.”
She said RT had no choice but to register or its bank accounts would have been frozen.
“The demand is discriminative; it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles,” Simonyan said on RT’s website. “It deprives us of fair competition with other international channels, which are not registered as foreign agents.”
During the Cold War, most Russian journalists working in America were required to register as foreign agents.
In its reporting on the situation, the Moscow Times said that U.S. action to require RT to register as a foreign agent could “push the precipitous U.S.-Russia relations over the edge.”
The State Duma announced Friday that Russia will expand its foreign agent law to include media organizations. CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty are likely to face restrictions, said Russian Sen. Alexei Pushkov.
“If the law is adopted, Russia will take measures that mirror the actions of the U.S. Congress. CNN will immediately find itself in an information vacuum and isolation in Russia, CNN will be legally banned from inclusion in any broadcasts, including in cable television packages,” Russian Sen. Igor Morozov has said, according to Newsweek.