MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed a bill that gives the government the right to register bloggers, journalists and social media users as foreign agents.
The bill, which was almost unanimously approved by the State Duma on Thursday, extends an existing law involving foreign-funded media outlets. That was adopted in 2017 in response to the decision by the U.S. Justice Department to label the Russian state-funded RT television a foreign agent.
The new law can apply to anyone who distributes content produced by media outlets registered as foreign agents and receives payments from abroad.
The move has been criticized by many in Russia for restricting freedom of expression in Russia even further and allowing the authorities to crack down on dissent.