In this file photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends an awarding ceremony at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside in Moscow, Russia.(Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Rights activists warned Tuesday of greater curbs on media and online freedom in Russia as MPs backed a controversial bill that could lead bloggers and independent journalists to be labeled "foreign agents".Lawmakers want to broaden existing legislation that forces foreign-funded media and NGOs to describe themselves as "foreign agents," by including individuals.Critics say extending the law to individuals would affect bloggers and even ordinary social media users, although some ruling party lawmakers denied this."I stress the text says 'can receive' [the status] but that doesn't mean they necessarily get it," Levin said.It will be necessary to prove a journalist or blogger collaborated with foreign media or a foreign agent and received compensation for it, he added.
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