By Nebojsa Malic, senior author at RT

Even because the US authorities informed Al Jazeera to register as a overseas agent, the Hill ran a misinformation-laden op-ed protesting proposed Russian guidelines that may do the identical to US authorities propaganda. Exceptionalism or hypocrisy?

“US should demand equal entry to Russian airwaves,” Jeffrey Gedmin and Gary Schmitt argued of their essay, printed Tuesday. Russia, they are saying, is forcing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to declare their standing as overseas brokers, to ensure “anybody would suppose twice about reposting information accounts and movies – and even visiting the positioning to start with.”

It’s true that Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, proposed a rule underneath which RFE/RL must label their content material… in July. The US Company for International Media (USAGM), RFE/RL’s dad or mum firm, has already objected to it – as has US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, again in August. It has not but gone into impact, nonetheless, so why complain about it once more now?

Mockingly, on the very day Gedmin and Schmitt’s op-ed was printed, information got here of the Justice Division ordering Al Jazeera’s on-line outlet AJ+ to register underneath the US Overseas Brokers Registration Act (FARA), supposedly as an agent of the Qatari authorities. No quantity of protests or proof of AJ+ editorial independence Al Jazeera reportedly supplied appeared to fulfill the DOJ.

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That kind of explodes Gedmin and Schmitt’s argument that RFE/RL needs to be handled otherwise as a result of USAGM is “a non-governmental, non-profit” with a “firewall and journalistic independence from US authorities meddling.” Not least as a result of, in precise actuality, USAGM is run by a Senate-approved govt department appointee, and is required to “be in keeping with the broad overseas coverage aims of america” and “present a surge capability to help United States overseas coverage aims throughout crises overseas.”

The duo’s argument can also be not served by the whopper that the US “doesn’t require RT… to label its content material as a product of a overseas agent.” This has actually not been true since late 2017, when RT was ordered to register underneath FARA and did so underneath duress. Nearly no US mainstream media shops objected, and only a few worldwide ones – that’s, till it was their flip.

Seeing as Russia’s personal overseas brokers legislation is kind of a duplicate of FARA, it’s tough to see how sauce for the goose shouldn’t be sauce for the gander. Until the US is so ‘distinctive’ that it rises above its personal legal guidelines and guidelines. Former heads of RFE/RL like Gedmin (2007-2011) and American Enterprise Institute students like Schmitt must know higher.

As an alternative, they create up the declare that the Kremlin is one way or the other in search of to restrict what Russians learn, watch or hearken to. That’s virtually an article of religion in Washington. In actuality, it’s a long-dead horse, whose corpse is being mercilessly abused in suppose tank suppose items like this. The Russian authorities actually sponsors a service referred to as InoSMI to supply Russian translations of overseas media articles, for which there isn’t a US equal. 

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Gedmin and Schmitt argue Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is personally cracking down on RFE/RL, however then say the outlet’s site visitors has not too long ago risen by “50-75 p.c.” That’s an odd metric of repression.

Likewise, as proof of supposed Russian disdain for Putin and “Russian life typically,” in addition to anger over the alleged poisoning of opposition determine Navalny – which occurred in August – they cite a ballot from Might and a Washington Publish opinion piece from April. A lot for “correct and dependable information reporting on what is going on inside” Russia, certainly.

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