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Language quotas for Ukrainian broadcasters may have bad impact — experts

May 24, 0:12 UTC+3 KIEV

Еhe law might push the country into isolation and have an adverse impact on society, experts said

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KIEV, May 23. /TASS/. The law on a 75% quota for the Ukrainian language at Ukraine's radio stations and TV channels, is a sheer instance of populism, Ukrainian experts said on Tuesday in a comment on the Verkhovna Rada's new initiative.

They also voiced the apprehensions that the law might push the country into isolation and have an adverse impact on society.

"The contemporary democratic notion of 'Ukrainian' implies everything created by citizens of Ukraine inside Ukraine, be it in English, Polish, German, Russian, Hungarian, Crimean Tatar, Romanian or other languages," Ruslan Bortnik, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Analysis and Political Management told reporters.

"The striving to bind everything that's 'Ukrainian' to the ethnic aspect is simply a marker of populism and lack of civilization and it dooms this country and people to isolation," he said.

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.

Of the 86 countries, the majority or 77% have given the status of state languages to several tongues, while other combine all-nation and regional multilingualism, Bortnik said.

Political analyst Nikolai Spiridonov believes the newly adopted law is an artificial bolster to the state language.

"Ukrainian is a beautiful melodious language and it doesn't need any artificial bolstering," he said. "This kind of bolstering will much rather repel people."

According to Spiridonov, private channels should have the right to broadcast in any language, since the task of any commercial broadcasting is to attract spectators. In addition to it, the language problem splits society and scarcely has a potential to consolidate it and quite often is a harbinger of forthcoming elections."

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.".

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