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 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 catalyst 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. At the state level and in most urban centres, including Prague, there are advisory bodies on issues relating to the arts and culture. At the Ministry of Culture (MC) there is the Arts Council, an advisory body to the minister comprised of representatives of the non-profit sector and cultural institutions. The Council's function is to oversee the implementation of the Concept of Effective Support of the Arts 2007-2013, propose and initiate conceptual, organisational, and legislative measures in the arts sector, discuss, assess, consult and prepare opinions and recommendations on the arts, monitor the work of organisations under the MC in the arts sector, and present ideas for research on theoretical and practical problems in the arts sector. To date the Council has not yet fulfilled its original mission laid out in the given Concept of the Arts.