Russia's lower house of parliament has passed a bill that could label international media as ''foreign agents,'' but ultimately it needs the blessing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Jacob Greaves reports.
Russia has taken a step towards targeting foreign media. Draft legislation could see news outlets labeled "foreign agents," with their ability to operate independently hindered. The country's lower house of parliament giving their approval on Wednesday (November 15). It would mean media organizations might have to disclose where they get their funding and how they spend it. It comes amid a spat between Moscow and Washington over the Kremlin meddling in America's presidential election. Just this week the U.S. took action against the Russian state broadcaster RT. Labeling its American based affiliate a "foreign agent" The Kremlin decried the move as an attack on "free speech." Now, Moscow could be set to respond in kind and it has form in using the label foreign agent. A 2012 law targeted non-governmental organizations receiving money from abroad. It meant submitting regular funding reports and being subject to spot checks by authorities. As a result some NGO's ceased operating in Russia. The draft law plans to set the same regulations for international media outlets - and it will next need approval from the upper house. But ultimately it will be President Vladimir Putin who gets the final say on whether it passes.