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Language quotas for Ukraine’s TV will only fuel tensions — media group

May 24, 2017, 8:49 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said later in the day that he was ready to sign the bill into law

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Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

© Alexander Scherbak/TASS

KIEV, May 24. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Inter Media Group said it viewed the presidential bill to introduce language quotas for Ukrainian broadcasters as a discriminatory move that would put further strain on the already tense inter-ethnic relations.

"We strongly oppose this bill that practically bars the use of any languages, except Ukrainian, on Ukraine’s TV. The matter is not about languages, be it Ukrainian or Russian. It is a matter of human rights," the statement reads.

The media group is convinced that "this bill violates the rights of millions of Ukrainians, for whom Russian is the mother tongue," as well as the rights of minorities who speak other 17 languages.

"Besides, this bill creates a rift in the society and fuel more tensions amid an already strained situation," the document reads.

The measure will also lead to the reduction of quality of TV broadcast, because "it is impossible to create quality content in Ukrainian" in the amounts required under this bill.

"Russian is one of the global languages. Millions of copies of textbooks and books have been printed in Russian, and a lot of high-quality Russian movies have been made. Ukrainians must not be denied access to such an important content," the group said.

According to the statement, the introduction of mandatory quotas on Ukrainian-language songs aired by Ukrainian radio stations led to a surge in the amount of low-quality songs on air.

A total of 269 deputies of the Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of the law on the language quota for the broadcasting media. The required minimum of votes for adopting laws in the Rada is 226.

The law stipulates that "the radio and television broadcasting companies broadcast in the state language, minority or regional language, and the language of international communications" but "shows of films in the Ukrainian language should make up no less than 50% for regional broadcasting companies and no less than 75% for pan-Ukrainian radio and TV channels."

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said later in the day that he was ready to sign the bill into law.

Tuesday's decision on quotas for the Ukrainian language stands at variance with the global trend, as 86 countries on today's political map of the world, or 45% of the existing 193 states abide by the multilingual principle in language policy and assign the status of an official language to several languages at a time.

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