Russia bans 'foreign agent' journalists from entering national parliament building
The Russian Parliament in Moscow has voted to bar journalists with media outlets labelled as foreign agents from entering its premises.
It called on regional parliaments to follow suit.
"We consider the pressure on Russian media unprecedented," Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said.
"Russia is not the kind of power that can let such actions go unanswered," he said.
The Ministry of Justice named nine US government funded media outlets as foreign agents on Tuesday.
Russian authorities said that was their reply to a similar decision by Washington regarding Russian state-funded companies RT and Sputnik.
The US intelligence community published a report in January that found RT tried to influence the Presidential elections that brought Donald Trump to power.
Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, along with seven of its sister stations, will now have to state that they work in the interests of a foreign government during their broadcasts.
They will also have to release more of their financial details, including where their funding comes from and what they spend it on.
'It won't change how we work'
A placard with a giant round biscuit on it reading "give cookies to the foreign agents" was stuck to one of the walls.
"We joke that we've always been foreign and we've never tried to hide it," Russian Service Director, Eugenia Nazarets told the ABC.
"Our audience is well aware that we're foreign. That gives us more objectivity in the eyes of our audience."
"We don't know how our audience is going to react to the whole phrase 'foreign agent', but we do know it won't change how we work in any way."
The offshoots of Radio Free Europe also placed on the foreign agent register include Crimea.reality, Caucusus.reality and a special project called Factograph which fact-checks claims by Russian officials.
Reporters with the outlet have come under pressure in the field, particularly outside major cities like Moscow and St Petersburg.
"If there is any aggression towards our journalists they will know what to do," Ms Nazarets said.
"That's not related to the new law, but because we've long prepared our people for that. They work in extreme conditions and in an aggressive environment."
The new legislation was added to an existing law which allows authorities to label organisations that operate in Russia and receive funding from overseas as foreign agents.
Deputies rushed it through parliament, unanimously passing it in mid-November before President Vladimir Putin signed it into force on the 25th.
In a straw poll yesterday in central Moscow, most Russians seemed oblivious of the new law, though a handful said they did listen to foreign media for news.