The American branch of the Kremlin-backed RT news channel is resisting U.S. requests to comply with a 1930s foreign agent registration law, CNN reported Thursday.
Responding to the move against the network that U.S. intelligence agencies say is the Kremlin’s main propaganda arm, Russian senators have reportedly prepared to blacklist five U.S.-based media outlets.
RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan previously said that her channel faced an Oct. 17 deadline to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
She cited American lawyers as saying that RT America’s staff and property could face arrests immediately after missing the deadline.
“Our legal team has been doing everything possible for RT to avoid having to register under FARA and the dialogue is ongoing,” RT’s head of communications Anna Belkina told CNN.
CNN cites FARA analysts as saying that foreign agent registration deadlines are unusual, but that the Justice Department may impose them when would-be additions to the registry don’t sign up voluntarily.
Other analysts said that the Justice Department could either ask RT America to register again in the case of them missing the deadline, or start civil or criminal proceedings against the broadcaster.
In turn, RT could file an injunction seeking an end to FARA registration requests.
President Vladimir Putin, in a speech at the annual Valdai Club conference on Thursday, vowed a tit-for-tat response if RT America or Sputnik, another Kremlin-controlled English-language website, faced pressure in the U.S.