Russia's justice ministry on Tuesday designated nine U.S. media outlets, including the Voice Of America, as "foreign agents." The ministry also listed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and several of its affiliates, after warning last month they could be affected. * RFE/RL president Tom Kent said in a statement that the Russian Ministry of Justice indicated the new designation will involve more "limitations" on the work of its company in Russia.* He added that* "the full nature of these limitations is unknown,"* but vowed that the network remains "committed to continuing our journalistic work, in the interests of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian-speaking audiences." Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in November empowering the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents" and impose sanctions against them. Russian officials have called the new legislation a "symmetrical response" to what they describe as U.S. pressure on Russian media. On November 13, Russian state-funded television channel* RT registered as a foreign agent in the United States under a decades-old law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said FARA is aimed at promoting transparency but does not restrict the television network's operation in the United States. The U.S. State Department has condemned Russia's law, saying it obstructs press freedom. "New Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as 'foreign agents' and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to free media in Russia," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement last month. *

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