On Wednesday, the Russian Justice Ministry reported that they had sent written notices to both Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, informing them that they were likely to be effected by Russian parliament’s new media law, allowing for the labeling of certain foreign media as “foreign agents.”
Today, Russian officials say that there are actually nine media outlets in total likely to be effected, though in addition to the two contact, the other seven are all just different language versions of Radio Free Europe targeting various parts of the Russian Federation.
The move is a response to a move in September by the US Justice Department, which required Russia’s RT to register as a foreign agent. Moves against foreign media had previously been all but unheard of under US law.
Officials defended the RT move because of the way it is structured under Russian law. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are in virtually identical situations in the US, meaning they are ideal for the Russians to target in a tit-for-tat retaliation.