2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model
The cultural policy system in Azerbaijan is very state-supportive in all respects, with the state taking the main decisions, providing financial support and coordinating the activities of the various partners involved in culture, in particular the regional and local authorities and professional organisations. This approach was necessary in order to protect culture and the arts, as well as secure artists and cultural workers, in the transition period.
At the same time, considerable societal changes during recent years have led to the development of a new model of cultural policy. The national cultural policy, following rapid economic development, has a good opportunity to flourish in the near future, combining flexible management at central level with activeness and initiatives at local level, an increase in the state cultural budget, together with improvements in fundraising and marketing skills of independent cultural managers, entrepreneurs and producers.
As outlined in the Constitution and in the Law on Culture, the national cultural policy is based on the principles of equal opportunities to create and use cultural values and to preserve the heritage in Azerbaijan. Every person has the right to create, use and disseminate cultural values, irrespective of their social and material status, nationality, race, religion and gender. The Law guarantees freedom of intellectual and creative expression and provides a legal basis for the development of national culture as a constituent part of world culture. These principles adequately reflect the Council of Europe principles advocating democracy, human rights and cultural policy priorities such as the promotion of identity and cultural diversity (e.g. freedom of expression), encouragement of creativity and participation in cultural life.