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16 July 2021

Cultural events, film screenings, and books in Ukraine: new requirements from 16 July 2021

The Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language” (the Law), which defines the rules on use of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine in various spheres of public relations, entered into force on 16 July 2019 and introduced several transitional periods when its provisions enter into force.

On 16 July 2021, the Law provisions related to cultural events, film demonstration, book publishing, and book distribution enter into force.

Film screening

From 16 July 2021, films must be distributed and shown in the Ukrainian language.

Exceptions when the use of other languages is allowed:

  • demonstration of documentaries in cinemas with Ukrainian subtitles – subject to permission for such distribution given via State Certificate for the Right to Distribute and Show Films
  • demonstration of films via streaming services on the Internet (Video on Demand) – if service providers have the audio tracks in Ukrainian language for films that can be accessed from the territory of Ukraine – download of such audio tracks must be by default

Exceptions when the use of other languages is allowed with mandatory dubbing or subtitling in the Ukrainian language:

  • if films produced by Ukrainian cinema makers are distributed and shown in Ukraine in the Ukrainian language – up to 10 per cent of replicas in another language are allowed, if they are dubbed or subtitled in the Ukrainian language
  • if films produced by foreign cinema makers  are dubbed in the Ukrainian language
  • if foreign films on the television  feature audio tracks made in other languages, along with the Ukrainian language
  • if screening of foreign films in cinemas in the original language  feature subtitles in Ukrainian

Book publishing and book distribution

From 16 July 2021, in the Ukrainian language must be:

  • not less than 50 per cent of all book editions published by the publisher during the calendar year
  • not less than 50 per cent of all book editions available in the bookstore (except for dictionaries and editions in the official languages of the EBU)

The Law defines exceptions when the use of indigenous languages and languages of national minorities of Ukraine is permitted under respective laws.

Cultural events

From 16 July 2021, the Ukrainian language must be used for:

  • cultural, artistic, and entertainment events
  • accompaniment of cultural, artistic, and entertainment events
  • announcements, posters, other information materials about cultural, artistic, and entertainment events and entrance tickets
  • information about museum objects displayed in museums and art exhibitions
  • tourist and excursion services

Exceptions when the use of other languages is allowed:

  • during the performance / playback of songs / phonograms
  • for cultural, artistic, entertainment and entertainment events, if it is justified by the artistic, creative plan of the event’s organiser

Exceptions when the use of other languages is allowed with mandatory translation into Ukrainian:

  • if the accompaniment is provided by a person who does not speak Ukrainian, a translation of this speech into Ukrainian is required (except for activities carried out in fulfilment of international obligations to EU languages)
  • if the posters are in another language – translation into Ukrainian is required (the text in another language cannot be larger in volume and font than the text in Ukrainian)
  • if the theatrical performance is performed in another language – translation into Ukrainian by subtitles, sound translation, or otherwise is required

Scope of liability

From 16 July 2022, the administrative liability for violation of the above mentioned requirements (in the form of a warning or a penalty of UAH 3,400 – UAH 5,100) will be introduced under Article 188-52 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences.

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