Moscow: Radio Liberty may be branded ‘foreign agent’ in reply to US crackdown on Russian media

Several services of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) might be restricted in Russia, the Russian Justice Ministry has warned the broadcaster, saying the measure comes in response to Washington's recent moves against Russian media in the US.

Russian authorities have warned the Washington-funded organization that its activity falls under Article 2 of the Russian Federal law on NGOs, which regards its operations as those of a foreign agent.

By law, Moscow "might impose restrictions" on the activities of the broadcaster in Russia, RFE/RL reported Monday, citing a letter from the Justice Ministry.

Several services of the broadcaster, including its Russian-language network Current Time television, run in cooperation with Voice of America, as well as RFE/RL's Russian service Radio Svoboda, might be subjected to certain restrictions.

"Current Time, Radio Svoboda, and Idel Realii [website run by RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir service] are journalistic organizations. We trust we will be able to continue our work," the broadcaster's vice president and editor-in-chief, Nenad Pejic, said in a statement Monday.

The letter from the Justice Ministry is a "tit-for-tat measure for the oppression of the Russian media in the US," the ministry explained in a statement. It added the retaliatory policy will be further applied based on Washington's actions toward Russian media operating in America.

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Based on Russia's media law, restrictions might be imposed on correspondents working for media organizations from countries that put limitations on journalists working for Russian-registered media there.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned that Moscow was ready to restrict the activities of some American media in Russia. The measures might come in response to Washington's attempts to limit the work of RT in the US, Maria Zakharova said.

Having mentioned "unprecedented pressure" on Russian media in some western countries, and "in the US in the first place," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has previously warned that Moscow might act accordingly towards certain foreign media operating in Russia.