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Ukraine Decided to Have It out with Freedom of Speech “Russian – Like”

Ukraine Decided to Have It out with Freedom of Speech “Russian – Like”
National Council of Ukraine in the question of TV and broadcastings warned the Russian telechannels about intention to estimate legitimacy of their presence in cable television networks of the country. Corresponding application is placed on site of National Council. As it was informed earlier, National Council suggested to increase a share of broadcasting in the Ukrainian language since September, 1st, 2009 from 75 up to 80 percent and starting from 2010 - up to 85 percent. Industrial television committee of Ukraine (ITC) uniting the largest speakers, is going to dispute these norms in the court.

The Ukrainian party accuses the Russian channels of disinformation of the audience and deliberate agiotage on the themes which provoke political opposition of Ukraine and Russia. Statements, according to which National Council demands from the Russian broadcasting companies distributing programs in cable television networks, their translation into the Ukrainian language, are called in this application absurd. As the Ukrainian party marks, agiotage in language questions became one of the main themes of the plots of some Russian mass-media, in particular RTR “Planet”.

Industrial television committee of Ukraine (ITC), uniting the largest speakers ("Inter", "1+1", ICTV, STB) will challenge in court the decision National Council concerning TV and broadcastings about increase of a share of Ukrainian speaking broadcasting.

They do not agree in ITC with decision of National Council from March, 26th, 2008 about increase of quota of broadcasting in the Ukrainian language. According to the law "About TV and Broadcasting", the share of broadcasing in the Ukrainian language makes 75 percent on telechannels. They consider in National Council that since September, 1st, 2009 the quota needs to be increased up to 80 percent and since 2010 - up to 85 percent.

In opinion of representatives of ITC National Council has exceeded its powers as the Supreme Rada of Ukraine should establish the quota. On the other hand, if telechannels will oblige to increase the share of broadcasing in the Ukrainian language, charges of telechannels on creation of the Ukrainina specking content will increase.

From editorial board: Restrictions of any broadcasting in ideological or propaganda occasions is inadmissible and, strictly speaking, contradicts the constitutional norms both of Ukraine and Russia, not speaking about international contracts and other documents having a priority before national laws. But, unfortunately, constitutional norms in our countries have often exclusively declarative character. Roughly speaking, Russia has no right to be engaged in propaganda in Ukraine, while Ukraine has no right to restrict freedom of speech. Though, as we see, both of them do it.

However, we are talking now about Ukraine and it should be said fairly - titles in the Ukrainian language for the Russian films make impression of a theatre of absurdity. Especially if they appear, say, under the Soviet films which are either a screen version of classics or have already become classics of a world cinema. If really there is a person in Ukraine who needs translation of Gogol into Ukranian language? What do they need this schizoid video series with translation into obscure Ukranian language for – the lines which are learned by heart already at school…

Yes, formally the Russian language has no status of a state language in Ukraine and - again formally, is same foreign language as English or Chinese. But in reality both the Ukrainians, the Russian and the Tatars watching " Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka” with translation into the Ukranian language experience not a feeling of pride for the state, not the desire to learn "sovereign” language – as there is an impression that authorities in Kiev simply have already nothing to occupy themselves with, that there are so many money in the budget of Ukraine that there is a strong necessity to pay for these worthless translations. Or may be little by little “awareness” turned into diagnosis.

At that the Ukrainian customs provoked international scandal with withdrawal of cassettes from employees of the Russian telechannel. We do not know what the customs “hasn’t let” to be in the air but the damage done to the reputation of Ukraine is significant, likely, greater, than any telecast - especially, it was a question of a church question, the visit of Constantinopolian patriarch. What was there so confidential or sensational?

Now we are talking about restrictions on broadcasting of the Russian channels. How it will be perceived by the population of Ukraine? Unequivocally as attempt at freedom of speech, as restriction in opportunity to receive information. That is all special propaganda of the Russian state telechannels could not achieve such an effect, as National Council of Ukraine made in relation to TV and broadcastings. So, the following saying – save me, God, from friends, I will cope with enemies by myself – is the truth…
Anatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk, chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Freedom of Speech and Mass-Media

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