Quotas for language

The quota for Ukrainian language has worked in cinema, in advertising, on the radio. It was the turn of television. On Tuesday, may 23, little more than six months after the introduction of language quotas on the radio, the Verkhovna Rada passed a similar law for TV. For this decision voted 269 deputies in the required 226.

The document, in particular, specifies that the total weekly volume of television and radio broadcasting transmission and/or films produced in the state language, shall be not less than 75% of the total length. And performed in the state language — at least 60% of the total duration. At the same time, if the broadcaster broadcasts in the languages of indigenous peoples of Ukraine, 75% of the broadcasting is the total weekly volume on indigenous languages, and state. The share of state shall not be less than 30%.

The law also stipulates how to calculate the share of Ukrainian language in radio and television products, when transfer or film is considered to be done in state language, what films or programs must be duplicated in Ukrainian. For failure to comply with the quota faces a fine in the amount of 5% of the total amount of license fee a license issued in accordance with a broadcasting license. And to the broadcasters it was time to bring their essential grids in accordance with the law, given by the delay: the document will come into force after four months from the date of publication.

The legislators also noted that during the first year after the entry into force of the law, in the proportion performed in the state language will be counted and, “wholly or partially created and/or funded by broadcasters and national audiovisual product”.

Language as a weapon

“This is another step for the defense of our national space and our language. In the context of a hybrid war against Ukraine from Russia, now it is not only communication, it becomes a weapon, a weapon the enemy does not give up. In war is a matter of national security”, — said the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy before the vote, and recalled that a similar law about language quotas for radio stations provoked a Renaissance of the Ukrainian song.

Member of the National Council on television and radio Sergey Kostinsky is convinced that the Ukrainian language is the key element of information sovereignty of Ukraine. And believes the adoption of this law is timely. “A year ago I could not imagine that such a law would be passed so quickly. Remember there was a lot of debate over the law on language quotas on the radio, and less than a year, as we already have the resources to, as in radio, to enforce a similar law on the television,” he told UNIAN.

Of course — as without this — the law has its drawbacks. First, according to the Local, is a weekly monitoring of the implementation of the law instead of daily. “We insisted to do the slice once a day. It would better to see who breaks. Because if we are limited to a week, this means that, conventionally, Monday to Friday on TV channels will be heard Ukrainian speech, and on Saturday/Sunday — Russian”, — he said.

In other words, this provision of the law opens up the possibility of manipulation. For example, the channel can put entertainment rating television programs in Russian, although technically will support and implement the new law. Second, while it is not clear how the implementation of the law will occur on the satellite TV channels.

“I can’t predict how it will happen on satellite channels, because they can go abroad to get a license to return to Ukraine as a foreign company and they will not be subject to strict regulation of the national Council”, — said Kostinsky.

And, thirdly, regional TV channels for the adaptation takes some time. “In the mode prescribed by this law, all Central TV channels. And the regional channels, especially in the South and East of Ukraine, will be heavier. Will need to work more to produce was a Ukrainian”, — says MP from the bloc of Petro Poroshenko, Advisor to the Minister of information policy Alexander Briginets.

In turn, political expert Taras Chornovil called the law “overly liberal”. “In the current wording of the quota of the Ukrainian language is a very broad concept. Because those percentages quotas established by law, and includes programs of its own production (for a transition period) in other languages, there are no standards for the language in which the news programs tell guests… Such nuances quite a lot. And some regional channels, using these loopholes will continue to broadcast, and to a greater extent in the Russian language. But not completely as before. So, for starters, we need at least such a law,” he said.

Chornovil is convinced that this law will be improved in the future. And now he only resumes the status quo of the Ukrainian language on the air, “which existed prior to the adoption of Russification of the law of Kivalov-Kolesnichenko”: “And how even against that very compromise version is fighting all the agents of the “Russian world”, is the best indicator of its relevance.” Indeed, the most ardent opponents of tender Ukrainization, the faction “Opposition bloc” has already been registered in the Verkhovna Rada a draft resolution on the abolition of the law on language quotas on TV and promise to appeal to the constitutional court because, in their opinion, the adoption of such a law — “a new attack on the rights and freedoms of citizens”.

However, the arguments of the opposition, angered by the adoption of such a law, if evidence of the protection of citizens ‘ rights, the specific rights of individual citizens. For example, some owners of TV channels, which allegedly will be extremely hard for four months to create or buy enough products in the Ukrainian language, or to translate it into Ukrainian. Moreover, according to representatives of the parliamentary opposition, it may “undermine” the ratings of many TV channels and create complexity to the audience.

Of course, I heard an old song, which Ukraine had already heard the introduction of quotas on the radio to say: there are not enough number of Ukrainian films, series and TV programs that would be of interest to the viewer.

Green light for their own production

On the one hand, it’s hard to disagree. According to the head of the Association of creative Directors of Ukraine Alexander Smirnov, who in principle believes any government regulation of language policy absurd, to regulate content, especially creative, on the basis of language, all the same what to tell: “to Become Leonardo da Vinci” or “Do sculpture, like Michelangelo,” because “we have such quotas.” “It is simply impossible, — he says. — Quality content is created when the talent gets the green light, and created all the conditions for it to flourish, then it works. And it’s not a question of language. It’s a question of talent.”

On the other hand, are talents, in response to the quota act is not against the Ukrainian language. For example, the Ukrainian Director Leonid Kanter supports such filtering techniques of the Russian product in Ukraine. If we talk about the movie — that this is almost the only chance for Ukrainian artists to Shine in front of their own audience. “For a long time we were exclusively in Russian. The product was made in Russia, and then was given to the distribution of all former republics of the Soviet Union several times cheaper [market value], it destroyed any competition because I, for one, can’t produce a film for $ 100. They when the film in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus sold some to the Ukraine, it was brought at a very cost dumping,” explains the Director.

According to him, the viewer is still necessary to explain. But the Director is certain that gradually the demand for Ukrainian films will appear, and this, in turn, will contribute to the funding and opportunities to work with Ukrainian actors. “It used to be that there is no point in Ukrainian actor, because the movies are only those who studied in Russian drama and knows no accent to speak Russian. For a long time cinemas did not take Ukrainian films and said that they did not come. But how can this be, that in Ukraine no one will come to the film in the Ukrainian language?” he says.

With this view agrees and programme Director of the NGO “media Detector” Roman Shutov. “Quotas will give more jobs to Ukrainian translators, Ukrainian actors, Directors and so on. This decision will encourage the production of Ukrainian national TV product”, — he said. In his opinion, the accumulation in the country experience and practice creating your own TV content over time in any case will lead to increased quality of the TV product. In this context, “Detector media” expects implementation of quotas more positive results than negative.

And the arguments that lead to the opponents, can be considered manipulative. “For example, there are arguments that this restriction of the linguistic rights of some groups of the population, but, sorry, we all understand that the Russian-speaking population has free access to Russian-language media, Russian-language content on television, and the Internet, and the press, we have more Russian than Ukrainian… the Second argument, which is that, well, it will make the TV more expensive. But we have before media were financed, by and large, the oligarchs, they are financed by oligarchs, media, from, will not become worse”, — says Roman jesters. And whether soon to expect the same of introducing mandatory quotas in the print media?

According to Shutova, it will not be easy: “Terrestrial TV now for people to actually free, and the press people are buying, so there is already a part of their consumer choice. If the Russian-language edition will be more attractive for the reader and more interesting, of course, readers will choose this product”. Thus, the quotas in this area is unlikely to be effective. On the printed media market are likely to act several other mechanisms. In particular, the state should rely on methods of support for the Ukrainian manufacturer of the press and improving the attractiveness for the reader.