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Slovak language law creates uproar

Slovak language law creates uproarEarlier this summer, the Slovak Parliament passed a controversial amendment of the Slovak Language Law. The law requires Slovak to be used in all public communication and mandates fines of as much as 5,000 euros per offense.

Critics are up in arms over the discriminatory nature of the law. For instance, euobserver.com has called the law "one of the most extraordinary pieces of legislation imaginable in a democratic country"

It is the country's large Hungarian-speaking minority (roughly 10% of the population) that is primarily impacted by this. But the country is also home to Ukrainian, Roma, and other minorities. Interestingly, the small Czech minority is exempt from its restrictions.

Supporters of the law claim that critics use "historicising and hystericising malicious, and sometimes even ridiculous, propaganda" and that the law in fact does not restrict the use of minority languages in Slovakia and that "where the text touches on the use of minority languages, it does so only in order to liberalise their use even more, that is, to broaden or simplify it."

For the full detail on the law, position papers, and petitions against it, head on over to the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages.

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