The discussion on whether to classify the broadcasters RT, formerly Russia Today, and Sputnik as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act is full of nuance, most of which is absent in the public debates over the topic. The fundamental question at issue is whether these two broadcasters are under both the direction and receiving funding from the Kremlin. There is no debate over the latter, while management of both unconvincingly disputes the former. But as we ask the question, we should know not just why we are asking, but what is the outcome we seek to achieve. Continue reading “Don’t do it: why the Foreign Agent designation is welcomed by RT and Sputnik”
Earlier this week, Yahoo News reported the FBI is looking into whether Kremlin-funded and directed media agency is operating in the U.S. as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Ironically, the FBI obtained a cache of internal Sputnik email and documents that will assist the bureau in its investigation. The timing of the investigation coincides with interest by some in Congress to update the Foreign Agent Registration Act, or FARA, to deal with modern operations such as Russia’s Sputnik and RT, the media outlet formerly known as Russia Today.