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Russian lawmakers mull blocking foreign media broadcasts

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/06/2017

MOSCOW — Russian lawmakers have started looking at ways to block foreign media broadcasts in Russian if they break the law, but the Kremlin said Wednesday that the move requires careful consideration.

The Russian lawmakers' proposal is a tit-for-tat response to a bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in March that would give the Justice Department authority to investigate Russia's English-language RT for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. RT figured in a U.S. intelligence report about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Andrei Klimov, the head of a newly created panel in the upper house of the Russian parliament looking at foreign interference in Russia's affairs, said it was pondering over ways to oblige foreign media broadcasting in Russian to operate in compliance with a Russian law on foreign agents.

Klimov said his panel is discussing changes in the law to require foreign media outlets to report on their funding and activities. He added that the prospective legislation could authorize Russia's communications watchdog to block broadcasts if they violate the law.

Asked about the proposal, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, refrained from comment but noted that it should be carefully considered.

"Such initiatives need to be seriously studied by all agencies," he said in a conference call with reporters. "It's too early yet to talk about a common view on that."

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