Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill forcing foreign media outlets to brand themselves “foreign agents,” a measure that comes in response to what the Kremlin described as U.S. pressure on Russian media. The legislation, which sailed through the upper and lower houses of parliament in the past two weeks, is due to take immediate effect after its publication on Saturday. Foreign media outlets working inside the country will now have to disclose their funding sources and brand their news the work of “foreign agents,” a label which carries Cold War-era connotations of espionage. Critics say the law, which imposes burdensome requirements on foreign news outlets, could be used arbitrarily to target newspapers publishing material critical of the Kremlin.
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