3.2 Overall description of the system
The Government of the Czech Republic (CR) has created a methodology for the preparation of its medium-term Concept based on its Decree from 2001. It considers the medium-term concepts of the individual ministries to be the basic elements and materials for addressing social and economic development in the CR. The medium-term concepts of the ministries should also draw from policy statements of the government.
The central body of state administration for the field of culture is the Ministry of Culture (MC). The scope of the MC is defined in Act No. 2/1969 Coll. on Establishing the Ministries and Other Central Administration Bodies of the CR. According to §8 of this Act, the MC is a central state administrative body for:
- cultural and educational activity;
- cultural monuments;
- matters relating to churches and religious societies;
- matters relating to the press, including publication of the non-periodical press and other information means;
- the preparation of draft laws and other legal regulations in the area of radio and television broadcasting;
- implementation of the Copyright Act; and
- production and trade in the area of culture.
The MC processes cultural policy, prepares drafts of acts and other legal provisions in the field of culture, and carries out tasks connected with the negotiation of international treaties, with the development of international relations and cooperation and other duties that the CR has in meeting its obligations under international treaties and membership in international organisations.
The MC supports the arts, cultural activities and the preservation of cultural heritage with grants and contributions from the "culture" division of the state budget of the CR. It establishes 30 state-managed organisations (which are founded, managed and supported by the state) and 1 public benefit organisation (an independent non-profit organisation, where the state or the city can be just a co-founder), in this case the International Music Festival Prague Spring.
There are two state funds operating at the state level: from January 2013 - the State Cinematography Fund (previously known as the State Fund of the Czech Republic for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography and the State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic. Both are founded on the basis of legislation. Administration of the State Cultural Fund falls under the authority of the MC, which is responsible for the financial management of the fund's resources. The State Cinematography Fund is an independent institution, but the MC nonetheless retains influence over it by exercising certain functions such as appointing its director, members of the Supervisory Board, and experts.
The State Cinematography Fund is the only instrument of public financial support for independent cinematographic work in the Czech Republic. In conformity with Government Resolution No. 73 of 17 January 1996 it is also the agency responsible for the administration of requests for co-production status in conformity with the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production.
The Fund has new name and also new status under the Act No. 496/2012 Coll., on Audio-Visual Works and Support for Cinematography and on the Amendment of Certain Legislation (Audio-Visual Acts) since January 2013. The final status will be approved by the Government of the CR (see also chapter 4.3, chapter 5.3.6 and chapter 5.3.8).
The State Cultural Fund of the CR should support the creation, realisation and promotion of works of artistic value, editorial activities in the area of non-periodical and periodical publications, the acquisition, restoration and preservation of cultural monuments and collection works, exhibition and lecturing activities, the promotion of Czech culture abroad, the organisation of cultural festivals, exhibitions and similar cultural activities, and cultural projects of ethnic minorities in the CR etc. From 2006 to 2011 the Fund was unable to perform its function as it did not have an elected board. The board was only elected in December 2011, as an amendment to Act No. 483/1991 Coll. on Czech Television made it possible to establish a permanent supply of financial resources in the form of revenue from advertising on the public television station ČT2 (see also chapter 5.3.8).
Culture also figures at the state level in the concept materials of other ministries, mainly the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other bodies of state administration.
An essential role in cultural policy is also played by regions and municipalities through the regional and municipal authorities. The regions were reconstructed quite recently in the CR (see also chapter 1). The original 7 regions that were created with districts in 1960 were cancelled in 1990. Fourteen regions were established on the basis of Constitutional Act No. 347/1997 Coll. on creating higher territorial units. The regions were created from 76 districts that were abolished when the regions were established and they commenced activity on 1 January 2001. The regions support the development of culture and establish regional libraries, museums and galleries, regional theatres, orchestras and institutes of archaeological preservation from their budget. The regions also co-create financial, conceptual and legislative assumptions for the development of culture in the region in conformity with concepts of the government of the CR and recommendations of the Ministry of Culture. Culture is included in the Programmes of Development of all 14 of the regions.
Towns and municipalities act in conformity with the Act on Municipalities and they are responsible for the general cultural development and needs of their citizens. Some municipalities establish cultural institutions, especially municipal and local libraries, municipal galleries and municipal and local museums, theatres, orchestras and other specialised cultural institutions. Many towns announce specialised tenders for the support of cultural projects. Some towns, especially the bigger ones, have their own cultural policy.
Cultural policy is of course also shaped by civil society and initiatives in this field that have emerged over time in the Czech Republic. This level has an influence on the transformation of the cultural policies of towns and also influences cultural policy at the state level. The biggest influence is evident in the changes in grant and other support systems in the field of culture and in the establishment of advisory bodies and more.
Chapter published: 23-09-2014