Russia’s justice ministry on Tuesday designated nine U.S. media outlets, including the Voice Of America, as “foreign agents.”
The ministry further listed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and several of its affiliates, after warning last month they could be affected.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in November empowering the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents” and impose sanctions against them.
Russian officials have called the new legislation a “symmetrical response” to what they describe as U.S. pressure on Russian media. On November 13, Russian state-funded television channel RT registered in the United States under a decades-old law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said FARA is aimed at promoting transparency but does not restrict the television network’s operation in the United States.
The U.S. State Department has condemned Russia’s law, saying it obstructs press freedom.
“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 last month.