Ukrainian language takes 50% in the media, yet not in worship and talk

Ukrainian language takes 50% in the media, yet not in worship and talk

Under the law, from today Ukrainian language takes 50% in the media, yet not in religious worship and private talk; violations will be punishable

Starting from January 16, 2022, all print media in Ukraine are to switch to the Ukrainian language, in accordance with amendments to the law on language that comes into force on Sunday.

“In accordance with the law, print mass media can be produced in other languages, on the condition that the number of copies issued in a foreign language is equal to the number of copies issued in the state language [Ukrainian],” State Language Protection Commissioner Taras Kremin said in a Facebook post. “All language versions must be issued under the same name and be equal to each other in terms of content, volume, printing techniques. They must enter circulation under the same number and on the same day.”

The only exception for this rule are regional media, obliged to switch to the Ukrainian language by July 2024. Ukrainian-language print media must account for at least 50% of assortment at every newspaper kiosk in the country.

The law will not be applicable to print media in minority languages (spoken by Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks), as well as in English or any other official EU language. The Russian language is not among those exceptions.

Violations to this law will be punishable with a fine of up to 8,500 hryvnia ($300), which will be increased if the offense is repeated. Its observation will be monitored by an official known as language commissioner and his regional offices, as well as public activists and ordinary citizens, who are to notify the language commissioner’s office about violations.

On April 25, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) passed the law on provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language. On May 15, it was signed by then outgoing President Pyotr Poroshenko. The document stipulates that Ukrainians should use the Ukrainian language in all spheres of their lives.

The law is applicable to all spheres except for the private conversations and religious ceremonies.

The attempts to establish official multilingualism are declared “the actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutionally established state order.” At the same time, a notion of “public humiliation of the Ukrainian language” is introduced, which is interpreted as “a wrongful act that is equal to insulting Ukrainian state symbols and is punishable in accordance with law.”


Photo: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a meeting with Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Onufriy and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk on the celebration of Easter under quarantine restrictions, April 28, 2022.


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