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Draft Bill Could See 'Foreign Agent' Media in Russia Fined $85,000

"Foreign agent" wall graffiti / Sergey Karpov / TASS

Less than a week after passing a law targeting foreign news media, Russian lawmakers want to impose fines of up to 5 million rubles ($85,500) on outlets that violate the new rules.

Legislation that allows Russian prosecutors to label international media as “foreign agents” came into force on Saturday. Several U.S. government-sponsored networks have been warned that they could be forced to register under the label, requiring them to regularly disclose their finances.

Russia's new laws came in response to the Kremlin-backed RT network's registration in the U.S. as a “foreign agent” earlier this month. The American intelligence community argues that RT, formerly known as Russia Today, played a key role in Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Russia’s latest draft law published Wednesday imposes a fine of up to 5 million rubles ($85,500) for legal entities found in “gross violation” of the new foreign agent law.

Officials could face a 200,000-ruble fine for the same transgression, while foreign citizens could be fined half that amount and placed behind bars for 15 days, according to the proposal.

The draft defines a “gross violation” of Russia’s media law as an offense repeated more than twice in a given year.

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