Serbian government to introduce fines in bid to save Cyrillic alphabet

Serbian government to introduce fines in bid to save Cyrillic alphabet
Image: Alexander Krischnig under a CC licence

7 June 2017

In an attempt to protect the use of the Cyrillic alphabet in Serbia, the authorities intend to establish a Council for the Serbian Language and introduce fines for organisations that fail to use Cyrillic, as well as tax incentives to encourage its use.

According to an interview by state-owned newspaper Večernje novosti with Serbian Culture Minister Vladan Vukosavljević, globalisation poses the single greatest threat to the Cyrillic script.

“The [situation] is relatively worrisome primarily because of the dominant use of the Latin alphabet,” Mr Vukosavljević cautioned, highlighting the prevalent use of the Latin alphabet by leading brands, on television and online. The minister argued that the media had “imposed” the alphabet “as the language of universal communication” and that this has a particularly strong influence on young people.

While Cyrillic is already the official alphabet in Serbia, the new strategy sees Cyrillic classified as the “native alphabet” and Latin relegated to a support script, with stricter rules regarding the use of Cyrillic imposed and more rigorously enforced.

The envisaged new regulations would have a particularly profound impact on the media.

“We will propose benefits for use of Cyrillic in print media, and for introducing a certain amount of Cyrillic in electronic media,” Dragan Hamović, an adviser to Mr Vukosavljević, told Večernje novosti. He also commented that the government will ask mobile operators to make sending Cyrillic text messages the same price as for those written in the Latin script, as it is currently more expensive to send in Cyrillic.

Source: Balkan Insight