Russian Parliament to Bar U.S. Media Named Foreign Agents

MOSCOW (AP) -

Russian lawmakers on Monday drafted new regulations that would bar U.S. media designated as foreign agents from accessing parliament’s lower house. The move is retaliation for the withdrawal of a Russian state-funded TV station’s credentials in the U.S.

The State Duma’s procedural committee proposed that the house vote on the measure Wednesday. The upper house, the Federation Council, plans to take similar action later this month.

In the U.S., a committee governing Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists withdrew credentials for Russia’s state-funded RT TV after it complied with a U.S. demand that it register as a foreign agent.

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Moscow has denied any interference.

Russia has denounced the move as a violation of media freedom and passed a new law allowing the government to designate any international media outlet as foreign agents. The law leaves it to the Russian Justice Ministry to single them out.

Foreign correspondents in Russia can currently access the parliament and some government agencies using press credentials issued by the Foreign Ministry.