Wikipedia 'unreliable', so Russian Federation launching its own version

Nellie Chapman
December 4, 2019

Since Monday, Russians who put up hyperlinks to overseas media content material might be branded "overseas brokers" and systematically, and legally, harassed by the nation's fearsome paperwork and law-enforcement system.

The legislation is an expansion of a law that was adopted by Russian Federation in 2012 which gave authorities the power to brand NGOs as foreign agents.

The new law applies to anyone who distributes content produced by media outlets registered as foreign agents and receives payments from overseas. A Russian journalist working for Voice of America additionally turns into a overseas agent beneath the legislation.

Moscow claims the law is a response to a decision by the USA government to require Russia's state-funded channel RT, to register its U.S. operating unit under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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Foreign agents are those who are involved in politics and receive money from overseas.

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West. Compliance would require stating publicly that one is a foreign agent and filing financial reports with the government. "They grabbed the lady, put her behind bars, they usually had nothing to point out for it", he commented after her sentencing. Also as usual under Putin, the response is asymmetrical.

In the USA, an agent must do things at the behest of a foreign official.

To me, however, foreign-agent registration laws make little sense in either form - the USA one or the Russian one. This is not a virtuous cycle.

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