14 Nov 2017 13:33

Foreign media outlets refusing to comply with foreign agent law to lose opportunity to work in Russia - Tolstoy

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) - A Russian bill on foreign agents among media outlets does not envisage that all foreign media outlets will automatically be recognized as foreign agents, but if a media outlet that falls under such criteria refuses to register as a foreign agent it will lose any opportunity to work in Russia, Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Pyotr Tolstoy said.

When asked by Interfax on Tuesday whether this bill meant that all foreign media outlets would be required to register as foreign agents, Tolstoy said: "No, its criteria say that it should be a legal entity with foreign participation or if it receives funds from a foreign state or state agencies [...]"

It is an incomplete list of conditions for assigning foreign agent status to a media outlet, he said.

When asked whether media outlets would lose their licenses if they refuse to register as foreign agents, Tolstoy said that "such a media outlet will cease to operate in the territory of the Russian Federation."

"It is necessary to simply tell the truth [about the existence of foreign funding]. We want the truth. If you receive foreign money, you have no choice of whether to reject [foreign agent status] or not. You may fail to fulfill the procedure [for registering as a foreign agent], and then sanctions, fines and administrative penalties will be applied," Tolstoy said.

At present, lawmakers are not proposing any new penalties for refusal to register as a foreign agent in addition to sanctions already applying to non-governmental organizations that refuse to register as foreign agents, he said.