Russian parliament mulls response to US move on broadcaster

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian lawmakers say they are planning a quick approval of legal amendments that would allow a quid pro quo response to a U.S. demand to the Russian government-funded broadcaster RT to register as a foreign agent.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Friday the lower house of parliament will amend the law on foreign agents to include foreign media. Deputy speaker Sergei Neverov said the amendments would also refer to social networks.

The measures could include sanctions on U.S. mass media "beginning with labelling their production as foreign agents and ending with suspension or termination of their activities. In relation to websites of foreign mass media, which are not registered in Russia as mass media but which spread public, socially significant information, these measures also will apply," state news agency Tass quoted Alexander Zharov, head of the government's media oversight agency Roskomnadzor, as saying.

RT said Thursday it will meet the Justice Department's demand to register as a foreign agent to avoid the arrest of the channel's American director and the freezing of its accounts.

The U.S. intelligence agencies allege that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia has denied any interference.

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