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Language of victory: Verkhovna Rada Ukrainized national TV by 75%

Author : Lilia Brudnytska

Source : 112 Ukraine

Parliament continued the marathon of triumphs of national self-consciousness by introducing Ukrainian language quotas at national TV
10:04, 26 May 2017

Read the original text at 112.ua.

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In May, Verkhovna Rada continued the marathon of triumphs of national self-consciousness. Following the ban of ribbons of Saint George, the deputies Ukrainized television. On Tuesday, May 23, the parliament voted for the law on quoting content. The document was the result of a series of complex discussions. And after the adoption it turned out that this law, to varying degrees, dissatisfies everyone.

What was accepted

In accordance with the law "On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Language of Audiovisual (Electronic) Media," all TV channels are required to observe a quota of 75% of Ukrainian-language broadcasts during the week between 07: 00-18: 00 and 18: 00-22: 00 on nationwide TV channels. For regional TV channels, the quota is reduced to 60%, although in first reading this figure ever reached 50%. But this "relief" does not apply to news.

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The subject of the compromise was the preparatory and transitional period, as well as some nuances of monitoring. Preparatory period - 4 months from the moment of signing the law by the president of Ukraine and publication of the text in the official publication. Then, within one year, the domestic product will be counted in the Ukrainian-language quota, in order to support the domestic content producer. Finally, the films and TV shows created before August 1, 1991, need not be duplicated (voiced) in the state language, but Ukrainian-language credits are mandatory. The rest of the films should be exclusively in Ukrainian-language.

For violation of quotas, the channel would pay a fine of 5% of the license fee.

Related: One language for all: Is business in Kyiv ready to switch to Ukrainian?

The law united all factions of the first coalition of the current convocation of parliament and two groups, 269 deputies voted "for". Formally, there are over ten opponents of the document: 14 members of the "Opposition block" faction and 1 non-factional group.

On the sidelines, the representative of the president in the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Lutsenko, said: "Our state language is Ukrainian. Let us stop considering ourselves insignificant! Let us begin."

The reaction of the president of Ukraine was predictable: "So, long live Ukrainian language on Ukrainian TV! P.S. Did everyone understand that I would sign the law?"

Related: Ukrainization of TV: What to change in broadcasting if language quotas are approve

For some people, 75% of the Ukrainian-language ether is not enough, for others – this is too much.

"Ukrainian television must broadcast in Ukrainian," Oleg Lyashko, leader of the RPL faction, notes. "We respect other languages, but in Ukraine we want to hear our native language both on TV and on the radio. So I do not see any problems here. Nobody oppresses Russian or another language."

"This should have been done back in 1991," explained the leader of the "Samopomich" faction Oleg Berezyuk.

Flexibility and expediency

A colleague of Oleg Berezyuk, Roman Semenukha, author and co-author of an impressive package of amendments to the law, did not conceal his disappointment: "The Soviet films are now equated with Ukrainian-language content, I think this is the postcolonial conservation. It is a shame and a dishonor!"

In his opinion, the norm on monitoring and quotas should be changed. Roman Semenukha is convinced that weekly monitoring will level out the effect, as it gives TV channels the opportunity to maneuver. On weekdays they might choose quotas, and on weekends they might satisfy the tastes of Russian-speaking spectators!

Related: Ukrainian Parliament to rise share of Ukrainian language on Ukrainian TV

MP Victoria Syumar explained that as a result of the introduction of daily monitoring, we run the risk of losing the law: "Television is never programmed for a day, there are features of broadcasts, it is not like on the radio. Therefore, trade-offs are caused by the technical process. We cannot force Ukrainians to buy satellites and watch Russian television."

If even the ardent supporters of the law are not happy with everyone, what about the opponents? Vadym Novinsky (the "Opposition block" faction) seems to be categorical: "It is definitely not profitable for Ukrainians. A few years ago, the Gallup Institute conducted a social survey, according to which more than 70% of our fellow citizens use Russian language at home. Instead of developing and promoting Ukrainian language, we prohibit Russian. I doubt it would help to popularize Ukrainian."

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His associate in the faction Yuri Pavlenko explains why: "There is no law that would stimulate the production of Ukrainian-language products. Therefore, we do not have enough films, shows. We need to introduce tax incentives, preferences, allocate funds from the state budget. Instead, they go exclusively through prohibitions... The time limit prescribed by law for its introduction is insufficient: if large television and radio companies are able to prepare, then regional simply cannot prepare their Ukrainian-language content in sufficient quantity. In fact, this will lead to the loss of rating by all TV channels and will force people to switch to satellite ones."

Related: The history of Ukraine's language legislation

Guerre à la guerre

Discussion after the adoption of the law was exacerbated by the factor of war.

"There is a war, Russians are killing Ukrainians. The Ukrainian state needs to adopt a number of laws in order to defend themselves and win, among them are those concerning the Ukrainian language," Yury Bereza, a people's deputy, claimed.

"No one but us would protect our information space, neither the IMF nor anyone else. Language space is a component of the national space. All other profanity ... We need to go to people and explain them why, for example, we banned social networks, Kaspersky antivirus,"Roman Semenukha explained.

However, the opponents of the forced Ukrainization believe that such decisions can play against Ukraine: "When people in the temporarily occupied territories, especially need to hear Ukrainian language, we deprive ourselves of the instrument of countering the information aggression from Russia. Only 3, out of 30 TV channels in Avdiivka, are Ukrainian, and to be honest, they are not popular among people."

Related: MP Lytvyn: Best law on language was adopted in the last years of Soviet rule

"Opposition bloc" faction intends to introduce a draft resolution on repealing the law, which was adopted with violations of the regulations. As Yuriy Pavlenko said, some amendments appeared late on the eve of the project's consideration in the hall, and thus the requirement of Rada's schedule of work for a 10-day period was not observed to familiarize deputies with the amendments. Some of the voted edits were missing in the first reading, which, according to the parliamentarian, is also a violation of the procedure.

"The bill did not appear on the agenda today. Like all our key projects, it was included on the week-long agenda on Thursday ... it has received the committee's decision. And in this case, all the procedures were observed," Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy notes.

The supporters of Ukrainization have something to answer. "It is necessary to pass a law on the Ukrainian state language now, not just before or after the election; otherwise, there might be numerous speculations. May 28 will be the equator of the current convocation, I think it is a good time to pass a law on the language as a whole," Roman Semenukha is convinced.

Related: Poroshenko sums up year of the English language in Ukraine

So 75% of the Ukrainian-language content is not the last height bar. And, taking into consideration the controversial comments, various political forces do not want to part with the language theme. Hence, loud language fights ahead.

Related: Only 11 of the 17 Ukrainian ministries have their English-language web-sites, - Lozhkyn

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