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Russia Prepares to Blacklist Five 'Undesirable' U.S. Media Outlets

Milos Kravcik / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Russian senators have drawn up  a list of five U.S.-based media outlets, including CNN, whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response to a requirement to have the American branch of Russia’s state-funded RT television channel register as a foreign agent.

The U.S. Justice Department has asked that the Kremlin-backed RT adhere to a 1930s foreign agent registration law over concerns of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. Russian prosecutors are examining the possibility of labeling U.S. outlets as “undesirable” in response. 

A source in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, told the RBC business outlet on Tuesday that its committee on state sovereignty has blacklisted at least five U.S. media organizations.

The list includes CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty, the source said. The names of the two other outlets have not been disclosed.

State sovereignty committee member Oleg Morozov told RBC that the list includes outlets that “receive foreign funding” and “interfere in Russia’s domestic policy.”

Morozov said the measures would reciprocate steps taken against Kremlin-funded RT and Radio Sputnik in the U.S., including limiting broadcasts and terminating existing contracts.

“If they take control of [Russian] employees’ personal data, we will take control of the corresponding foreign media employees’ personal data,” he added.

The news comes a week after senators reportedly proposed to cut U.S. media organizations to equal the number of Russian outlets in the U.S. 

Federation Council state sovereignty committee head Andrei Klimov named CNN, Radio Liberty and Voice of America as likely targets to face the axe in Russia.

Other outlets at risk are The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Radio Liberty’s Crimean project, according to diplomatic sources cited by the pro-Kremlin Izvestia daily.

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