8.4.3 Associations of citizens, advocacy groups, NGOs and advisory panels
Current developments have led to the rise of new civic initiatives and associations. Since around 2004, initiatives have periodically emerged in the CR and especially in Prague in an ad hoc response to the critical situation in the cultural sector caused by cuts in funding, the lack of knowledge on the part of state officials, corruption, the failure to adhere to binding Concepts that were approved by the bodies of representative democracy, and unfortunately a lack of transparency in actions and the redistribution of funding. Other problems have been a lack of communication with the professional community and wilful, capricious behaviour on the part of every level of state administration. Initiatives in response to this include 4 Points for Culture and For a Cultural Prague – directed against the lack of conceptuality at Prague City Hall.
One of the most distinctive recent initiatives is For a Cultural Czech Republic, which for assembles representatives of non-state, non-profit cultural and arts organisations and other figures working in the third sector in various arts and cultural activities across the CR to concentrate on shared objectives. The initiative emerged in March 2009 and the direct impulse was the drastic financial cuts in the cultural sector. See chapter 4.3.
The initiative is aimed mainly at maintaining an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the state and public administration in order to arrive at a thorough and genuine reform of the method of financing of live culture, to foster dignified conditions of work in the sphere of culture, and establish equal rules and transparency for all subjects active in the culture sector. In 2010 one of the activities organised by the initiative was the first Open Cultural Think-tank, which further pursued the debate on culture and support for creativity.
In connection with further reductions in the state budget for culture, in 2013 another initiative formed called "Let's Save Culture" was also engaged in the "fight" to increase the budget for culture in the spring of 2013 (see also chapter 4.3).
At the state level and in all the towns including Prague there have been advisory bodies for issues concerning culture and the arts active at different times. At the level of the MC, for instance, there was the Council for Arts, which functioned as an advisory body to the minister, and which oversaw the fulfilment of the Concept for the More Effective Support for the Arts 2007–2013. It is currently inactive.