July 16 is a significant day in the history of Ukraine.
On July 16, 1990, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine which played an extremely important historical role in gaining independence. This document became the political and legal basis of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine on August 24, 1991.
On July 16, 2019, the Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language” entered into force which also plays an extremely important role in strengthening the independent Ukrainian state. The first two years of operation of the Law confirmed its effectiveness, consolidating role and public support.
On July 16, 2021, a new stage of implementation of the norms of this Law begins which will increase the presence of the state language in the public space and strengthen its status as the state language. This day the norms come into force that are important for the great majority of people, as they relate to culture and entertainment, tourism, book publishing and bookstores, film production, film showing in cinemas and on the TV screen, etc. (parts 2-6, 8 of Article 23, Article 26 of the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language").
From July 16, all concerts, show programmes, arts and cultural, entertainment events must be held in the state language. Exceptions are envisaged only for songs and phonograms and in case if use of a non-state language is required by the organizer's creative concept. Accompaniment of all concerts, shows, performances and entertainment events should be provided only in the Ukrainian language. Simultaneous or consecutive interpretation must be provided when persons that can't speak the state language deliver performances.
This is one of the important innovations of the law on the state language. Unfortunately, currently some popular concerts, humorous and entertaining shows, video versions of which are shown by leading TV channels, are almost completely delivered in Russian.
We expect that all cultural figures will conscientiously implement the Law. In his turn, the State Language Protection Commissioner is ready to provide consultations and every assistance to ensure steadfast compliance with the requirements of language law.
From July 16, announcements, posters, banners, booklets and other information materials about arts and cultural, entertainment events as well as entrance tickets for them must be produced in the state language. The use of other languages is allowed if the text in another language is not larger than the text in the state language by volume and print. Text size requirements are not obligatory when writing own names of artists, names of bands and compositions, trade marks.
This norm has been already mainly adhered to by institutions, establishments and economic entities working in the area of culture.
From July 16, all performances in national and municipal theaters in a non-state language must be translated into the state language with the use of subtitles, sound translation or in a different way.
From July 16, the language of museum affairs and art exhibitions is the state language. All information, including the audio-visual one in museums, galleries, at exhibitions must be provided in the Ukrainian language. Duplication in another language is allowed but on the terms of priority of providing information in the state language. This refers to the design of advertisements, tickets, information products, etc.
From July 16, the language of tourist and excursion services is the state language. Tourist or excursion services may be provided in another language only to foreigners and stateless persons.
From July 16, the language of distribution and exhibition of films in Ukraine is the state language. Films made in a foreign language are distributed and shown, including in particular on television, dubbed or scored in the state language. In addition to the state language, films may contain audio tracks in other languages. Exhibition of foreign films in the source language with subtitles in the state language is allowed in cinemas if the number of such screenings does not exceed 10% of all screenings or as part of film festivals. Screening of the film in the source language with subtitles must be announced in advance.
From July 16, providers of video-on-demand services with the use of Internet network, if they have audio tracks in the state language for films access to which is possible from the territory of Ukraine, provide downloading of such audio track to relevant films by default.
From July 16, Ukrainian publishers are obliged to publish in the state language no less than 50 percent of all book editions produced during the year.
From July 16, the proportion of books in the state language available for sale in each bookstore or other institution distributing books must be no less than 50 percent.
The previous practical activity of the State Language Protection Commissioner, in particular after coming into force of the norms concerning the service language on January 16, 2021, has showed that compliance with the law depends not on sanctions but on citizens' attention to their language rights.