Ukrainian language radio broadcasting quotas

Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Share of Musical Works in the State Language in the Programs of Television and Radio Organisations”

June 16, 2016

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

November 8, 2016

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Introduction of language quotas for radio broadcasters to sustain the development of Ukrainian music

The quotas led to the engagement of local Ukrainian performers and their content popularisation on the radio stations, as well as the broadcaster’s switch towards Ukrainian, important in the wake of the ongoing decolonisation processes.

Act’s description and legal basis

The initial draft law amended the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Television and Radio Broadcasting” by introducing language quotas for radio broadcasters. The Law set a 35% daily quota for songs in Ukrainian and the same quotas for prime time (from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.). The latter provision was implemented to ensure that radio stations do not fulfill the quota by broadcasting in Ukrainian solely during the nighttime. The requirement is different for the radio stations that broadcast 60% of songs in the EU official languages: they must implement the so-called “preferential quota” of 25% of songs in Ukrainian. 

The quotas were introduced gradually: during the first year after the law’s enaction, the quota constituted 25%; during the second year – 30% and a quota of 35% had to be implemented from November 2018. 

Lastly, according to the initial Law, a daily quota for broadcasting in the Ukrainian language apart from the songs, such as news, analytical, and entertainment programs, had to constitute 60% of airtime. This provision was also to be implemented gradually: 50% during the first year, 55% during the second year, and 60% since November 2018.

Since the  full-scale Russian invasion, with the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Support of the National Musical Product and the Restriction of Public Use of the Musical Product of the Aggressor State”, the daily song quota was increased and now constitutes 40%, while the programme broadcasting quota increased to 75%. The same daily quotas for songs in Ukrainian were preserved in the newly adopted Law of Ukraine “On Media”, while the programme broadcasting quota will increase further to 90% since 1 January 2024. 

The new Law amends the enforcement powers of the National Broadcasting Council (NBC). The sanctions for infringement of rules depend on the type of violation. Non-compliance of the radio broadcaster with the established song quota by 5% or less constitutes an insignificant violation and results only in the prescription. The NBC can impose a fine only if the broadcaster commits five insignificant violations in a year or a double fine if the broadcaster has continued to collect insignificant violations after the fine’s imposition.

If a broadcaster breaches the song quota by more than 5%, it commits a significant violation. It is punishable with a fine of 10% of a license fee. A double fine applies for any further significant violation. Commissioning six significant violations in a year may lead the NBC to apply to the court for license revocation.


With the constant domination of russification of the Ukrainian entertainment sphere well before 2014, the initial Law was heavily criticized by the media industry. Therefore, there were many concerns about whether Ukraine needed quotas and whether it will positively influence the market. Some feared that amendments would lead to radio stations broadcasting the same kind of music. This, in turn, would make the listeners seek the music they are used to on the Internet, where no quotas exist.

Statistics demonstrate the overall compliance of broadcasters with the language quotas. For example, the NBC report shows that in 2019 the average fraction of Ukrainian songs constituted 56%, which is 8% more than in 2018. Among the radio stations which broadcasted the most Ukrainian content were “Kraiina FM” (100%), “UA: Radio Promin” (97%), and “UA: Radio Kultura” (88%). Monitoring in 2021 demonstrated that all radio stations broadcast more than 80% of programs in the Ukrainian language. The monitoring of the second semester of 2022 revealed that radio stations broadcast 58% of songs and 99% of other programming in Ukrainian. Apparently, Ukrainian music received much-deserved recognition and is now regularly broadcast on radio stations. Moreover, Ukrainian songs became more popular even in the Eastern regions of Ukraine, which previously tended to consume more Russian product.

As to the quotas’ enforcement, from 2016 through 2019, the NBC imposed 27 fines, most of them in 2017. Thus, even if broadcasters are held accountable, they are usually warned or sanctioned with minimum fines. In 2020, the NBC monitored and sanctioned four broadcasters for non-compliance with rules by issuing prior warnings and only then imposing fines. This practice evidences the broadcasters’ tendency to comply with the provisions.