Things seem heading inexorably in this direction, another step taken last Monday – along with a major body blow to fundamental freedoms.
Facing arrest of its leadership, an asset freeze, and likely closure of its operations, RT America was forced by the Justice Department to register as a foreign agent under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
In 1938, it was enacted to counter NAZI propaganda, not media operations. For the last half century, no one was convicted of violating the law.
The action against RT was eerily reminiscent of Jews in Nazi Germany forced to wear Yellow Stars of David for easy identification, along with Jewish-owned establishments ID’d in similar fashion.
Targeting RT and Sputnik News is all about US political and economic war on Russia, the former with irresponsible hostile bashing, the latter with illegal sanctions.
What’s going on should terrify everyone, ominously suggesting something much more serious to follow – the threat of catastrophic nuclear war, maybe sooner, not later.
The action against RT violates FARA’s letter and spirit, enacted against real enemies, not invented ones or anything connected to legitimate journalism.
Russian media available in America are invaluable sources of news, information and analysis – polar opposite disinformation, Big Lies and fake news featured by their Western print and electronic counterparts.
RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan issued a statement, saying “(f)aced with a choice between a criminal case and registration, we opted for the latter.”
“Our greetings to free speech in the US and to those who still believe in it.”
On November 10, ahead of Monday’s forced registration, Russian lower house State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin instructed the body’s appropriate committees to draft symmetrical legislation against US media operating in Russia.
Passage could come in days, including by the upper house Federation Council. Likely targets include CNN, along with US global media propaganda operations, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, according to Federation Council Information Policy Committee chairman Alexey Pushkov.
On Monday, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) North American Program coordinator Alexandra Ellerback issued a statement, saying:
“Compelling RT to register under FARA is a bad idea. This is a shift in how the law has been applied in recent decades, so we have little information about how its reporting requirements might affect individual journalists,” adding:
The CPJ is “uncomfortable with governments deciding what constitutes journalism or propaganda.” Action against RT America “set(s) a troubling precedent,” bordering on censorship, perhaps forced closure of the operation at a later date, along with targeting digital democracy the same way.
Societies without speech, media and academic freedoms risk losing all other rights – full-blown tyranny replacing them, the troubling path America is taking.
According to the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, Israel, Ukraine, Hungary and Kyrgyzstan proposed or enacted laws similar to FARA – perhaps EU countries and others following.
Today is the most perilous time in world history. Loss of fundamental freedoms and threat of nuclear war pose humanity’s greatest threats.
It’s a troubling and hugely dangerous time for people everywhere yearning to be free and safe.