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Russian Duma Commission Accuses Foreign Media Of Breaking Election Law

The Duma commission will send its findings to Russia's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor.

MOSCOW -- A Russian parliamentary committee has accused six foreign-registered and funded media outlets of violating the country's election law before and during last month's elections to regional and local councils.

MBK Media, Meduza, RFE/RL's Russian Service, Voice of America (VOA), Current Time TV, and BBC News Russian are the accused media outlets.

The chairman of the State Duma's Commission on Foreign Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs, Vasily Piskarev, said on October 17 that the committee had concluded that the media outlets had called on Russians to participate in the summer-long protests.

Piskarev said he will send the committee's findings to Russia's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, and the Prosecutor-General's Office to take "responsive measures."

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly rejected the "false and politically motivated accusations," saying they "are intended to silence independent media in Russia and intimidate independent journalists."

"We stand by our journalists and the professionalism of our coverage, and we will not be deterred from our mission -- to give the Russian people access to the truth about events in their country," he added.

Protesters in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia demanded that independent and opposition candidates get included on ballots in the September 8 elections.

Police violently dispersed several of the demonstrations and more than 2,000 people were detained, drawing international condemnation.

Law enforcement officers have been criticized for impeding journalists trying to cover the rallies, with some reporters being detained and equipment damaged.

MBK Media and Meduza are Russian independent media outlets based abroad.

RFE/RL and VOA are U.S. broadcasters funded by Congress. Current Time is a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

In September, the same parliamentary committee accused German state-funded broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) of interfering in Russia's internal affairs by allegedly calling on people to come out and protest.

DW rejected the accusations.

Roskomnadzor has also accused U.S. technology giants Google and Facebook of violating the country's election law.

Facebook last month rejected the claim, saying advertisers -- not the company itself -- were responsible for complying with local election laws.

With reporting by Current Time and Interfax