Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Civic action in defence of the right to watch films in Ukrainian


More than 600 people have already supported the initiative which was launched the day before yesterday in response to the effective refusal by film distributors to translate films being shown in Ukrainian cinemas in Ukrainian. It is in response also to the fact that the Cabinet of Ministers (and lobbyist for Russian-language Tabachnyk personally) refused to require film distributors to obey the laws of Ukraine.

The initiative involves a commitment which states:: “I promise not to go to showings of foreign films with Russian translation on condition that 1,000 people agree to do the same.”

There is some surprise in the fact that less than two days after the action began, more than 600 people have joined it although the initial aim had been to find 1,000 people over two and a half months!

People’s interest therefore in having films in Ukrainian is in fact very high.

Information about the action has been circulated mainly through the Internet (websites, bloggs and by email), with those who’ve joined the initiative telling others.

The economic point of the initiative is that once the amount of losses incurred by the boycott outweighs the cost of translating each film, the film distributors will find it cheaper to translate the films into Ukrainian.

According to our estimates, the participation is needed of around 5,000 people who will boycott films in order to make translating into Ukrainian profitable for distributors.

Those who’ve joined the action also suggest other direct actions, for example, demonstratively walking away from ticket offices where in response to the question: “Do you have a Ukrainian version”, the answer is negative.

The commitment to the boycott is continuing here:
Given the high level of activity of the people who have taken part, we will soon ask all participants what they think the next step should be. One possibility is that we will hold a press conference on the results of the first stage (after receiving 1,000 promises).


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