Russian MPs vow to make State Duma off-limits for all USA 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

Moscow will ban the US media from accessing Russia's State Duma - lower house of parliament - starting from next week, a committee head said Friday.

The Russian government is looking to pass a measure that would ban American journalists from accessing the lower chamber of its Parliament, the Duma.

Kremlin-backed RT on Wednesday night published a letter from the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio And Television Correspondents Gallery saying the channel's Congressional press credentials had been withdrawn due to its registration as a foreign agent in the United States. The Committee's head, Olga Savastyanova, said on Friday she expects the motion to be approved on the State Duma plenary session next week and come into force by the end of the week.

Russian officials called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as USA pressure on Russian media. It is unlikely that the proposal would be rejected by the overwhelmingly pro-Kremlin assembly.

Peskov said Russian media had been subjected to "outrageous" attacks in the United States which violated freedom of speech.

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
US Media To Be Banned In Lower House Of Russian Parliament

Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of RT, confirmed earlier this month that the company had met the United States demand to register as a foreign agent.

US authorities have designated Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT as a "foreign agent", after intelligence officials alleged it tried to meddle in the US Presidential election a year ago.

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

In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25 signed a law to introduce a "foreign agent" status for foreign media outlets.

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