Freedom of artistic expression is guaranteed in basic constitutional documents and is a basic human right and freedom (see 2.2). This right has been guaranteed long term in the Czech Republic, even with the severe restrictions that were placed on this freedom under the state-socialist regime, and not many cases arise in which this freedom is the subject of controversy or is by some deemed to have been carried too far. When such a case does arise it is usually due to different understandings of and approaches to what is or is not ethical or different ideas about what viewers or visitors can be ‘shown’. One recent example was an active protest against the staging of the play The Curse by director Oliver Frljićthat which took place during the performance at the World Theatre Festival in Brno in 2018. The issue of the play’s staging even ended up in court when Cardinal Dominik Dukatook took legal action against the Centre for Experimental Theatre and the National Theatre in Brno.
Like freedom of artistic expression, support for the freedom of movement is also very important in the light of the restrictions on freedom of movement that existed before 1990. In recent decades in particular, a number of new measures have been introduced in support of the mobility of artists and cultural professionals, by both the state and the municipalities. One of the strategic measures developed in this area is the Czechmobility.info web portal, which provides information necessary to improve the ease of incoming and outgoing mobility.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the problem that the Czech Republic lacks a systemic definition of the status of the artist, a definition that would lead to the improvement of the social situation of artists and other cultural professionals. There are no forms of special tax, social, and financial relief for artists and cultural workers. The status of the artist is currently being made an important issue at the MC and will be addressed in the new cultural policy.
Surveys and other studies have long drawn attention to the low level of employment in the area of independent culture. Most workers in this branch of the arts work freelance with a trade licence or on the basis of various kinds of contracts. This results in inequalities between public and non-profit and even for-profit organisations, such as a lack of uniformity in the conditions for guest artists and those employed by an organisation and different levels of social security and insurance, as well as other inequalities.