MPs, musicians: Media-lobby in parliament opposes introduction of quotas on Ukrainian content 


Public discussion demonstrates the need to work better on the law popularizing Ukrainian content, although public opinion on ways to improve the law is rather polarized.

Kyiv, June 13, 2016. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine failed to adopt draft laws on introducing quotas on Ukrainian-language content on the Ukrainian radio. Currently, a special committee continues its work. This was stated by Hanna Hopko, MP, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We have to reach a compromise in order to submit a coordinated version of the draft law that would suit Ukrainian performers. In the fall we should see an increase in the number of Ukrainian songs in radio prime time, at least gradually: in three months – 25 percent, in a year – 30 percent, in another year – 35 percent,” said the MP.

Sergiy Osnach, NGO “Vidsich” (en. – Repulse), noted that the public demands to abolish division into any formats as it is often very difficult to determine the format of the song. “The opponents believe that there is no quality Ukrainian music. They proposed to reduce quotas for formatted radio stations. Just imagine, for folk music radio they suggested reducing the quotas of Ukrainian songs to 25 percent and for rock music – to 20 percent. They also suggested that if the radio plays young performers’ songs, it could fulfill a Ukrainian quota only by a half,” explained Mr. Osnach. He added that the draft law’s opponents want to maximize the time frame for the Ukrainian content. “It means that a break between Ukrainian songs or blocks can be even 12 hours. It’s just negating the draft law,” added Mr. Osnach. Volodymyr Sherstyuk, KozakSystem band, believes that there is so much high-quality Ukrainian music that there will be lack of radio stations, and not vice versa. “We are humbling ourselves when looking for some percentage to satisfy the non-Ukrainian owners of Ukrainian media. We should find a way to explain to the public that it is time to defend the Ukrainian,” says Ivan Leno, KozakSystem band.

Alyona Dmuhovska, representative of the contemporary music festival of street art RESPUBLICA 2016, stressed that support should be provided both for the Ukrainian music and for the foreign language music, if it is created in Ukraine. “Jamala won the Eurovision with the English [and Crimean Tatar] song; every year the Stoned Jesus band gives 70-80 concerts in Europe; the Synoptyky band has become the world’s best young band in Berlin. We support both these sectors,” she explained.

Bogdan Butkevych, Sweetlo band, journalist at “Ukrainskiy tyzhden” (Ukrainian week) is convinced that now Ukrainian musicians do not have resources to compete with the foreign ones. “For this situation to be changed the wider public should want to listen to Ukrainian music. But 90 percent of people worldwide listen to the music that is played to them. Respectively, Ukrainian broadcasters should start to play Ukrainian music for 35-37 million of Ukrainians to provide money for the development of the Ukrainian show business,” noted the musician.

Artem Halytskiy, music editor at the online radio station «SKOVORODA», noted that the quotas will guarantee quantity rather than quality. “The quotas cannot teach the music editors to find, to love and broadcast the Ukrainian music, if they are not interested. They cannot explain the audience what this music is about, and why it should be loved,” he noted.

Singer-songwriter Sergiy Farfura informed that people at the front like and wait for concerts of the Ukrainian bands, despite the fact that their songs are not broadcasted by the Ukrainian radio stations. Andriy Zubenko, director of the first commercial radio station in Volyn region “Radio SiD,” noted that in Western Ukraine the Ukrainian music is broadcasted in prime time, and the audience likes it very much.