Enraged by the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to force RT’s American company to register as a foreign agent, Russian lawmakers are busy expediting reforms on Moscow’s own law on foreign agents, so it can be enforced against any news outlet receiving resources from abroad. Based on the way these amendments have been drafted, however, Moscow’s foreign agents law could be implemented against Russian news organizations, as well.
The television station RT (Russia Today) operates both in Russia and abroad through a legal entity called “the autonomous noncommercial organization TV Novosti,” which has admitted to receiving funding from foreign sources, insofar as it collects ad revenue abroad.
“Under our contract with Google, we cannot disclose our earnings, but it’s certainly more than any other news channel on YouTube,” RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan said in 2015.
Russia’s Justice Ministry is responsible for determining which organizations qualify as foreign agents.