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Ukrainian Lawmakers Approve Language Quotas

Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a bill that requires national television and radio stations to have at least 75 percent of their programming in the Ukrainian language.

The issue is controversial among Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population, and pro-Russia separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine claim Kyiv is deliberately reducing the use of the Russian language. Kyiv denies the allegation.

The legislation is still going through parliament and requires presidential approval. The first reading of the bill was approved on March 16.

The bill also requires local TV and radio stations to have 50 percent of their content in Ukrainian.

The language quotas would be in place between 0700 and 2200.

The bill also requires that foreign films aired on Ukrainian television channels, including Russian movies, must carry Ukrainian subtitles.

Viktoria Syumar, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee for freedom of speech and information policies, told a session that some Ukrainian broadcasters have up to 90 percent of their programming in Russian.

She added that the Crimean Tatar language was included in the Ukrainian language quota.

Based on reporting by Interfax and UNIAN

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