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FBI’s Probe of Sputnik Unlikely to Affect American Media Outlets, Despite Concerns

typewriter-muckBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some American journalists are worried about the potential slippery slope of the FBI investigating a state-run news agencies Sputnik and RT.

Free press advocates believe the bureau’s probe could open the door to government intrusion in U.S. media outlets. They also worry the federal government could label some legitimate news companies as “propaganda.”

But according Columbia Journalism Review, “requiring Russian state-owned media to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, is not as ‘Big Brother’ as it sounds.

FARA, for one, isn’t planning on prohibiting any of Sputnik and RT’s activities.

“There is no concern about slippery slopes,” James Kirchick, a journalist and writer who has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union, tells CJR in an email. “Never mind their content (which is not news gathering in the traditional sense but disinformation aimed at influencing American politics), their opaque management structures starkly differentiate them from reputable outlets like the BBC, France 24, and Deutsche Welle, which operate independent of government control.”

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