Freedom of artistic expression has been guaranteed long term in the CR, 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 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 Frljić that took place during the performance at the Theatre World Festival in Brno in 2018. The issue of the play’s staging even ended up in court when the Czech Cardinal Dominik Duka took legal action against the festival organisers – 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 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 ease incoming and outgoing mobility.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fact that the CR 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 is also addressed in the new cultural policy (the Objective 3).
The status of the artist is also one of the pillars of the Czech National Recovery and Resilience Plan in the culture component. The main milestone is the creation of a legislative norm to establish the status of the artist (see also 2.9).
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 to the conditions for guest artists and those employed by an organisation and different levels of social security and insurance, as well as other inequalities.
The COVID crisis also highlighted for the first time the broad ecosystem of cultural professions. The first list of cultural professions in the arts was created by the MC in cooperation with professional associations in the context of the COVID-Culture compensation packages for the self-employed (see also 2.9).
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