The US Justice Department has informed China's Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network that they must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that the Xinhua News Agency and CGTN, the global arm of state broadcaster CCTV, had been told in recent weeks to register as foreign agents amid growing scrutiny of efforts by overseas media organizations to influence USA public opinion. Both outlets will also be required to identify themselves as registered foreign agents to United States audiences.
In the letter, the senators also expressed concerns about the registration rule's lack of clarity: "While FARA contains an exception for certain news or press services, this exception does not apply to a news or press service owned, directed, supervised, controlled, subsidized, or financed by a foreign principal, or whose policies are determined by a foreign principal", they wrote. CGTN and other Chinese news organizations have also been rapidly expanding their foreign presences.
Chinese news outlets and the country's embassy in the USA have yet to issue comments.
Justice Department (DOJ) spokesman Marc Raimondi said he had no comment when The Epoch Times sought to confirm the news via email.
FARA was created in 1938 as a means to smoke out lobbyists working for the Nazi regime.
The Justice Department cited a January 2017 intelligence community assessment on Russian efforts to interfere in the election that called the media outlets "the backbone of the Russian government's propaganda apparatus". Under the act, any foreign agent is expected to provide the DOJ with regular updates on their activities, but lax enforcement left the law toothless. Despite widespread criticism highlighting the US crackdown on free speech in the country, RT journalists lost their access to the US Congress. RT's programming was also removed from some broadcast frequencies.
The Russian government retaliated by designating the U.S. government-funded Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and seven of their affiliates as foreign agents in December.
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