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Bulgaria/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.5 Language issues and policies

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the official language is Bulgarian. The issue of "mother tongues" (the term "minority language" is not used in the Bulgarian Constitution, which regards "mother tongue" as the more relevant term) is addressed in two specific laws. The first concerns radio and TV broadcasting, regulated by the Radio and Television Act [Article 12 (2)], which lists the cases in which programmes may be broadcast in a language other than the official one: 1) when they are aired for educational purposes and 2) when they are designed for Bulgarian citizens whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian. The second addresses the status of "mother tongue" as a subject in Bulgarian schools, regulated by the National Education Act [Article 8 (2)] and the Syllabus and Minimum Comprehensive Education Act [Article 15 (3)]. According to the provisions of the first Act, students whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian are entitled to mother tongue tutoring in municipal schools, with the state providing protection and exercising control; the second Act defines "mother tongue" as a "compulsory optional subject", which means that if students want to study their mother tongue, the municipality or the state is obliged to provide them with this opportunity.

Public debate was mainly focused on the previous Act and was related to the possibilities of municipalities to provide the necessary resources and qualified trainers. Separately, nationalistic oriented citizens and media were disputing the necessity of news broadcasting in Turkish on BNT, but these voices did not get wide public support.

Chapter published: 20-01-2011

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