‘Cocked hammer’: Russia readies reciprocal measures against US media
The Russian government is ready to propose reciprocal legislative measures targeting US media outlets and NGOs in response to discrimination against news organizations like RT and Sputnik in the United States, the Russian deputy justice minister has said.
Concrete proposals to give effect to such measures are almost ready and will be drafted as bills once senators amend some minor details of the provisions, Oleg Plokhoy told the Russian Upper House workgroup for the protection of national sovereignty on Wednesday.
“We are ready, at the present moment we are acting in a cocked-hammer mode,” he said. The deputy minister specified that the reciprocal measures could include tighter control over US mass media and NGOs working in Russia, as well as their branches and affiliated companies.
“The level of this control is practically a mirror of the measures that are currently being used in the US against Russian mass media,” he noted.
The planned ‘mirror’ measures against CNN television and other US media companies would be “harsh,” First Deputy Chairman of the Upper House Committee for Defense, Senator Frants Klintsevich told RIA Novosti. “We will never leave this issue as it is – the reciprocal restrictions will be adequate but harsh. They think we will never resort to such steps. They are wrong. They will feel it,” he warned.
Earlier on Wednesday, the head of the Russian state mass media watchdog Roskomnadzor, Aleksandr Zharov, told reporters that his agency had conducted talks with CNN and warned it that restrictions imposed by the US on RT and Sputnik were inadmissible and would not be left without an answer. Zharov added, however, that Roskomnadzor had no immediate plans to take action against media outlets.
“At the present moment, we are working within the legal field and we have prepared no particular actions against the US mass media and US social networks,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the workgroup for the protection of national sovereignty approved a statement recommending that all Russian companies refrain from planning advertisements on Twitter, as a reciprocal measure in response to the social network’s banning of ads from RT and Sputnik.
The recommendation was presented to reporters by the head of the workgroup, Senator Oleg Morozov, who also promised that proposals on a symmetrical response to US actions would soon be reworked into legislative measures and presented to parliament.
In late October, Facebook and Twitter took steps that were supposedly a response to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. Facebook revealed that $100,000 worth of "Russia-linked" ads were placed during the campaign. However, the ads appeared to be critical of all candidates and over half of them were posted after the election was over.
Twitter banned all ads from RT and Sputnik, citing "election interference." Russian officials have always denied any effort to sway the US polls and pointed to the fact that their critics had not produced any solid evidence to prove their claims.