The law on language quotas at national TV enters its force. The document was published in a parliamentary newspaper Golos Ukrainy (’The Voice of Ukraine’, - ed.) four months ago.
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 the first reading this figure ever reached 50%. But this does not apply to news.
In case the TV channel broadcasts in “Ukraine’s indigenous languages”, the total broadcast in those languages and Ukrainian should totally make 75%, with at least 30% in the official state language.
Movies and TV-programs created before August 1, 1991, may not be translated, however necessarily need to be titled in Ukrainian.
Live programs are considered Ukrainian in case the hosts spoke state language, thus the guests may speak any language, however, the subtitles shall be mandatory in case of usage of foreign language.
In movies, 10% of the general time of foreign speech is allowed, but with the use of subtitles.
The law foresees that other languages – without voiceover or dubbing – may be used in a particular TV program or motion picture, in the following cases:
- Play-by-play TV report (except for a reporter’s speech);
- Speeches, interviews, commentaries, requests of guest speakers and particular remarks made by hosts – to the extent, defined in the program’s creative concept;
- Songs, which make part of a program or a motion picture (other than musical genre) and are used only as background sound;
- Music videos, containing close caption;
- Any pieces of art, speeches or performances using languages of Ukraine’s national minorities.
The given law does not concern foreign TV companies, or the ones broadcasting for foreign audience if it is stated in their respective broadcasting licenses; if such company offers science and education programs in one or several EU languages; if the company broadcasts TV programs aiming at learning foreign languages.
Over the first year of the law being in effect, all programs and shows, their parts, particularly or fully created or funded by a TV company will be counted in the share of the state language. Thu,s the government aims to support the domestic producer. In case a TV company violates the language quotas, it may be fined for up to 5 percent of the total amount of the licensing fee (based on the TV company’s broadcasting license).
Violation of the language quotas will be punished with the penalty in 5% of the broadcast license fee.
The Ukrainian Parliament approved the law in May; in June, it was officially published in the parliamentary official newspaper Golos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine, - ed.).