People will be able to use the Czech language in Slovak state offices, according to an amendment to the State Language Act approved by the government on March 11. The amendment will also permit people to speak the Czech language on television and radio broadcastings in Slovakia and allows for live broadcasts in foreign languages with simultaneous translation into Slovak, reports the TASR newswire.
Programs aimed at teaching a foreign language teaching and theatrical pieces prepared in foreign languages are not required to use Slovak. The obligation to use Slovak at cultural events where the Czech language is spoken has been scrapped as well. Non-standard use of the Slovak language in public speeches is permitted as well, as long as it is used with a functional purpose. Minorities can use their native languages at healthcare and social facilities in Slovakia provided that they only do so in towns and villages where at least 20 percent of the inhabitants come from the given minority.
Associations, political parties and social groups will have to prepare financial and technical reports and statutes in both the state language and in the language of the minority group that runs the organisation concerned.
Inscriptions on memorials, monuments and plaques must be written first in Slovak followed by the foreign language text in the same or smaller font size. The same applies to signs, advertising and announcements providing information to the public, the TASR wrote. Construction companies must ask the Culture Ministry to approve inscriptions on the properties they construct in order to avoid additional corrections.
If shortcomings and mistakes appear and these are not corrected after repeated calls by the Culture Ministry, a fine of €100-5,000 may be imposed by the ministry.
Public representatives and the National Union of Employers submitted comments to the amendment before it was discussed by the Government. They asked that sections of the amendment that deal with the use of the state language in state offices be deleted. They also requested that the part adjusting rules pertaining to signs, advertising and announcements should be dropped they also opposed the mechanism of fines and their amounts which they consider to be inappropriate. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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