Russian-Backed TV Network's Production Company Registers as Foreign Agent

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An RT television broadcast van is seen parked outside the Luzhniki stadium ahead of an global soccer match in Moscow.

Russian lawmakers began to develop legislative measures requiring foreign mass media to register as foreign agents after the US Department of Justice ordered RT America to register as a foreign agent before November 13, threatening to freeze the company's assets and arrest its head if it does not comply.

Many news outlets with ties to foreign governments are required to similarly register, but the pressure on RT has angered Russian officials who have said they will retaliate with unspecified restrictions on USA news outlets.

T&R Productions LLC, which has created content for RT since 2014, filed the disclosure Monday under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

After that report, the Department of Justice insisted that RT America comply with registration requirements under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

The filing for RT came through its US -based production company, T & R Productions LLC.

"The National Security Division's FARA Registration Unit is reviewing T&R's filings for sufficiency", the statement added.

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"Between a criminal case and registration, we chose the latter", Simonyan wrote today in a tweet.

RT disputes the accusation that it is an agent of the Russian government, saying it offers alternatives to mainstream news coverage.

The Justice Department announced the registration just hours after RT's chief editor said the company had complied with the USA demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. US intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.

"Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the US government or public on behalf of foreign principals", Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente said in a statement Tuesday. The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., similarly alleged that the US threatened to arrest RT staff and freeze the network's bank accounts.

The U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged RT served as a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin as part of its multi-pronged effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The assessment also said RT America "has positioned itself as a domestic USA channel and has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian government, " but behind the scenes, "the Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT's coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging due to their ideological beliefs".

Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations of election meddling and said it views the actions against RT as an unfriendly act.

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