Kremlin says understands why Russian parliament wants to ban United States media

Russia's parliament could bar US media from reporting within its walls in retaliation for the withdrawal of a Kremlin-funded television station's credentials in the United States

Olga Savastyanova, a member of the lower house, the State Duma, told Russian media Friday that the action was retaliation after journalists for Russian state-funded TV channel RT were barred from reporting inside the U.S. Capitol building.

Russian lawmakers are to discuss a proposal to bar USA media from accessing the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, the RIA news agency quoted the chair of one of the chamber's committees as saying earlier on Friday. "The issue at hand is imposing a ban on visits to the State Duma by journalists representing all American media outlets", she explained referring to the content of the draft resolution.

The minister was speaking at a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart, Angelino Alfano, on Friday, where an RT correspondent asked him about Moscow's response to the United States congressional press office's decision this week to revoke RT America's credentials citing its status of a "foreign agent".

The State Duma has been working together with the Foreign Ministry on Moscow's response to the withdrawal of RT America's Capitol Hill accreditation, State Duma Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said on Thursday. "It concerns US media because blatant attacks on foreign media, specifically Russian media, which contradict the worldwide practice of freedom of speech, are rampant in the USA", he added.

The US move and the Russian threats of retaliation follow the endorsement of a new Russian bill that allowed the government to designate international media outlets as foreign agents in response to the US demand made to the RT TV channel

On Nov. 13, the U.S. Department of Justice demanded RT to register as a foreign agent for playing a key role in what it termed an "influence campaign" aimed at undercutting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during last year's White House race.

Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of RT, confirmed earlier this month that the company had met the USA demand to register as a foreign agent. There are 21 American media outlets accredited to work in Russian Federation, according to the website of the foreign ministry which keeps the register and issues documents to journalists.

When Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about the possible ban for U.S. media to report from the Russian parliament, he said he views the initiative "with understanding".




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