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Russia Might Make All Outside Media Register as ‘Foreign Agents’

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Russia’s Parliament has passed legislation that could require foreign news outlets to submit to financial scrutiny and refer to their news products as the work of “foreign agents,” the Moscow Times reports, in apparent retaliation for U.S. censure of the Kremlin’s state-controlled broadcaster RT.

The Justice Department last week ordered RT to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, a law originally meant to target Nazi propaganda. The move requires RT to disclose sources of funding and attempts to lobby politicians. The American arm of the Russian channel is viewed by U.S. intelligence authorities as the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.

Moscow’s proposed amendments, unanimously approved Wednesday, are not quite tit-for-tat. Because they would likely apply to all foreign media across the board rather than just to state organs, rights groups fear they could be used to muzzle all dissenting voices. The Russian Senate and President Vladimir Putin still have to sign off on the changes before they become law. According to the New York Times, Putin has expressed some reservations over the bill, saying it may go too far.

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Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com