The U.S. Department of State criticized on Tuesday Russia’s legislation that allows Moscow to register media outlets as foreign agents.
“New Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as ‘foreign agents’ and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to free media in Russia,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“Freedom of expression—including speech and media which a government may find inconvenient—is a universal human rights obligation Russia has pledged to uphold,” she added.
Russian lawmakers unanimously approved the bill on November 15 in a retaliation to the U.S. demands made to Russian RT TV channel to register with the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said that RT was a tool in the Kremlin effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Moscow has denied any involvement.