Language quotas on TV
Out of focus TV LCD set and remote control in man's hand isolated over a white background. Out of focus TV LCD set and remote control in man's hand isolated over a white background.

Bill #5313 introduces quotas for the Ukrainian language on television – 75% for nationwide broadcasters and 50% for the local ones in each of the time intervals from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm and from 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

Samopomich supported this draft law in the first reading, since we unequivocally support the idea of strengthening the position of the state language and the promotion of its use, in particular, in the information field of Ukraine. However, this draft law should be finalized by the time of the second reading and, taking into account all the remarks, should act exclusively during the transition period. In the future, the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On the state language” #5670 should be effective, and the very law should be considered and discussed in the Verkhovna Rada as soon as possible.

Concerning the remarks to the bill on quotas on TV, which was supported today:

1) The procedure for calculating the number of programs in Ukrainian will not actually increase the share of the Ukrainian language on air. The project provides for a following model: the presenter – in Ukrainian; guests, music – any other language. And the thing is that such a program will be considered to be presented in the state language. We propose to refer to the quota only the actual use of the state language in the broadcast, especially in news programs.

2) The proposed authority of the National Security and Defence Council to agree upon the relevant content to be admitted for the broadcasting in the national language does not correspond to the legal nature of this body. The National Security and Defence Council is a coordinating body for national security and defence under the President of Ukraine (Article 107 of the Constitution of Ukraine). The Council coordinates and monitors the activities of the executive authorities in the sphere of national security and defence. This provision should be excluded from the bill.

3) The Law “On the system of international broadcasting” also applies to informing Ukrainians abroad, as well as the audience that is located in the temporarily occupied territories, in the territories in the state of emergency, in those where martial law has been introduced, as well as in the areas where anti-terrorist operations are conducted; so it is obvious that there is a need for broadcasting in the state language. It is clear that the percentage of the state language in the international broadcasting may be less, but it is necessary to secure it anyway. I offer to determine the share of the state language in the system of foreign broadcasting through introducing changes to the Law of Ukraine “On the system of foreign broadcasting”. The scope of this share should be the subject of discussion.

4) The Final Provisions of the draft law propose: within the first year of the entry into force of this Law, programs and broadcasts, their parts, which are wholly or partly created and/or financed by the broadcasting organization shall be enlisted as the ones done in the state language. In fact, during the first year after the adoption of this law, quotas will not be fulfilled. This norm should be eliminated as an insufficiently justified one.

5) It is not allowed to introduce any amendments to the Law “On the Fundamentals of the State Language Policy” by Kivalov-Kolesnichenko. Making changes to it the Verkhovna Rada will actually legitimize it.

As for the conflict between the Law “On Television” and the mentioned Law of the Criminal Code, it should be noted that “In case of inconsistency between the norms issued by one and the same norm-setting body, the act published later is applied, even if the act adopted earlier has not lost its relevance” (the letter of the Ministry of Justice dated December 26, 2008 N 758-0- 2-08-19). So, the norms on amending the Law on Fundamentals of the State Language Policy should be excluded from the draft law.

We are preparing amendments to draft law 5313 thinking about the adoption of the Law “On the state language” 5670.

It is high time.

 

Iryna Podoliak
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