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Since January 16, 2022, print media to be published in Ukrainian

10.12.2021, 15:51

Part one of Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine "On Printed Mass Media (Press) in Ukraine" (as amended on January 16) and part one of Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language" contain an imperative norm: printed media mass information in Ukraine is published in the state language. That is, as a general rule, it is not possible to enter information in printed publications in another language, in particular announcements, advertising information, etc. Exceptions are mentioned in Part 5 of Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language": they include English, official languages ​​of the European Union, Crimean Tatar, languages ​​of other indigenous peoples of Ukraine. But the Russian language does not fall under these exceptions. 

This norm comes into force on January 16, 2022, in accordance with paragraph 1 of the Final and Transitional Provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language", for all-Ukrainian and regional publications. For print media with a local scope in the registration certificate, the language requirement will take effect on 16 July 2024. 

Also, in accordance with Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language", printed mass media may be published in languages ​​other than the state language (in particular, Russian), under condition that at the same time with the respective circulation in a foreign language the circulation is printed in the state language as well. The circulation in Ukrainian must be made, and the obligatory copies must be sent in accordance with the law, even if, apart from the obligatory copies, no more copies can be distributed in Ukrainian. At the same time, all language versions must be published under the same name, correspond to each other in content, volume and method of printing, and their issues must have the same serial numbering and be published on the same day. It is also an imperative norm,which makes it impossible to produce different versions of the publication for different languages.

Distribution by subscription to printed publications in Russian is permitted provided that their founders (co-founders) provide the possibility of subscribing to the same publication in Ukraine in the state language. In the place of distribution of a printed publication in the Russian language, such a mass media is distributed by the state, regardless of whether it is distributed on a paid basis or free of charge, including free distribution.

Violation of the requirements for the language of printed publications should be subject to administrative liability under Articles 188-52, 188-53 of the Code of Ukraine "On Administrative Offenses":

Articles 188-52. Violation of the law on the functioning and use of the Ukrainian language as the state language

[…]

Violation of the requirements of the Law of Ukraine "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language" on the use of the state language by the print media -

entails the imposition of a fine of four hundred to five hundred non-taxable minimum incomes or a warning if the violation is committed for the first time.

[]

Repeated during the year the commission of a violation from among those specified in parts one to four of this article, for which the person has already been subjected to an administrative penalty, -

entails the imposition of a fine of five hundred to seven hundred non-taxable minimum incomes.

Articles 188-53. Failure to comply with the legal requirements of the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language during his state control over the use of the state language

Repeated non-compliance with the legal requirements of the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language during his state control over the use of the state language -

entails the imposition of fines on officials from one hundred to two hundred non-taxable minimum incomes. 

That is, for violating the requirements for the language of the print media, the fine reaches 8,500 hryvnias. However, in accordance with paragraph 1 of the Final and Transitional Provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language", the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language will be able to bring violators to administrative responsibility from July 16, 2022.  

It will be recalled that the IMI has a legal hotline where experienced media lawyers Roman Golovenko and Ali Safarov provide consultations by calling 050-44-77-063. Questions can also be sent to IMI info@imi.org.ua .

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