Ukrainian law obliges the national print media to publish in the state language
A law requiring Ukraine’s national print media to publish in the country’s official language came into force on Sunday, in a bid to push back the use of Russian.
All national newspapers and magazines must be published in Ukrainian according to law. It does not prohibit publication in Russian, but stipulates that a parallel Ukrainian version of equal scope and circulation must also be published.
For publishers, publishing double versions is not considered a profitable option. The last Russian-language national daily Vesti switched to Ukrainian on 10 January.
The transition is based on a controversial 2019 language law that was passed just after former President Petro Poroshenko was removed from office. Poroshenko signed it just before current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took office and a transition period has been in place ever since.
The law aims to combat the influence of the Russian language in the public sphere.
From mid-May, news sites registered in Ukraine must offer at least an equivalent version of articles in Ukrainian – and this version must be opened first.
From July 2024, the Ukrainian language requirement will also apply to regional media. Radio and television have already been subject to strict quotas for the Ukrainian language for years.
The printing market in Ukraine has been shrinking for a long time.
Well-respected weeklies and dailies such as Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror) and Segodnya (Today) have been completely discontinued and are now only published online. Ukraine’s language policy has been criticized in neighboring Russia.