RT America, the DC-based television network’s bureau partially funded by the Kremlin, has ignored an October 17 deadline set by the Department of Justice to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“Our legal team has been doing everything possible for RT to avoid having to register under FARA and the dialog is ongoing,” RT communications director Anna Belkina said in a statement. “On their advice we are not discussing further details at this time.”
The Justice Department demanded action by RT America in September, along with establishing the October deadline. Experts say deadlines accompanying FARA registrations are rare, but can happen in instances Justice suspects they will not get voluntary compliance.
There is currently no clear plan to address next steps in the situation; one likely possibility could be that the DoJ again requests RT to register under FARA. RT could also file an injunction to stop the government from forcing it to file.
Federal investigations are probing the role played by RT America in Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. An intelligence report issued in January said RT “conducts strategic messaging for [the] Russian government” and “seeks to influence politics, [and] fuel discontent in the U.S.”
FARA was created in 1939 to prevent German propaganda from swaying the American public prior to the onset of World War II. Companies or individuals working on behalf of foreign governments are required under the legislation to disclose their funding the the relationship with the Department of Justice, but registration does not prohibit any news agency from operations.
Other media outlets funded by foreign governments are registered under FARA and continue working in the United States, such as Japanese broadcaster NHK and Chinese newspaper The China Daily.