In response to the recent crackdown against RT and Sputnik who saw their TV station credentials recently yanked by the US government, which is rapidly descending into a neo-McCarthyite abyss, Russia’s parliament said it would bar U.S. media from reporting within its walls in retaliation.
Olga Savastyanova of the State Duma told Russian news agencies on Friday that she expects the Duma to adopt the ban next week.
“By our decision we are offering this move for the consideration of the State Duma Council and plenary session. We are expressing our attitude to the inadmissibility of attacks on democratic values, freedom of speech and the right to receive objective information,” Savastyanova told RIA Novosti on Friday.
Savastyanova emphasized that the ban was a reciprocal action introduced after RT America was stripped of accreditation with the US Congress. According to current regulations any foreign reporter must receive an accreditation with the Foreign Ministry to work in Russia. Once received, this document grants free access to the Parliament.
Separately, the AP reported that Igor Morozov, member of the information policy committee at the Federation Council, told the RIA Novosti news agency that the upper chamber of the Russian parliament would support the ban and could vote to enforce it later this month.
As of this moment, foreign correspondents in Russia can access the Russian parliament and some government agencies with their press credentials issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry; that access will likely be lost in a few days.
The action is retaliation to a Wednesday decision by a committee that governs Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists, which withdrew credentials for Russia’s RT after the company complied earlier this month with a U.S. demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Russia has denounced the move as a violation of media freedom. The U.S. 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 U.S. demand made to the RT TV channel.
Asked about the possible ban for U.S. media to report from the Russian parliament, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday he views the initiative “with understanding.”