Belarusian language society demands to return native tongue to state TV

The Belarusian Language Society, a non-governmental group that prmotes the national language and culture, on January 18 adopted an appeal, seeking to return the Belarusian state langauge to the Belarusian television". The document is addressed to the Cabinet of Ministers and the leadership of the National State Television and Radio Company. The statement notes that the Belarusian language has been squeezed out from the Belarusian television channels over the past years, and there is no television in the native tongue in this country. The document describes this policy as a language discrimination of Belarusians which is a clear violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.

The Belarusian Language Society mentions Kazakhstan and Russian as positive examples. In Russia, in July 2008, the government passed a resolution on the protection and a wider use of the Russian language. In Kazakhstan, the Russian language enjoys an official status, but the local television must broadcast at least half of the programming in the native language on every TV channel, under the law.

The Belarusian Language Society maintains that the Belarusian language should be used in the programs of the state-owned television and take at least a half of the broadcasting time.