The State Duma has banned US media outlets recognized as “foreign agents” in Russia from visiting its building on Moscow’s Okhotny Ryad Street. The MPs made this decision at Wednesday’s session in response to the withdrawal of the Capitol Hill credentials of Russia’s RT television company.
“To impose a ban on visiting the State Duma by representatives of US media outlets recognized as foreign mas media performing the functions of a foreign agent,” the document says. The lower chamber also proposed regional legislative assemblies to take similar decisions.
According to the decision, the State Duma “considers as unacceptable any encroachments upon the basic human rights and freedoms: the freedom of word and the right to receive and spread information.” “By protecting democratic values the State Duma members preserve the right to take similar measures due to the decision on the withdrawal of some Russian reporters’ credentials in the US Congress,” the document says.
The order will come into force immediately after signing by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. The MPs said that the restrictive measures may be lifted in case of abolishment of the corresponding decisions to restrict Russian media in the American parliament.
On November 29, Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association (RTCA) Chairperson Craig Caplan informed RT that its Capitol Hill credentials had been rescinded. He stressed that this particular decision was taken on November 21 after a unanimous vote in the committee because the T&R Productions, LLC (T&R) company that services the RT American branch is registered as a foreign agent in the US. On December 5, it emerged that the Russian Justice Ministry had recognized nine media outlets as “foreign agents”. These are Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, (RFE/RL), Current Time TV, Radio Liberty’s Tatar-Bashkir service (Azatliq Radiosi), Sibir.Realii, Idel.Realii, Kavkaz.Realii, Krym.Realii and project Faktograf.