Cultural rights in Georgian legislation are mainly reflected in the Constitution (1995), the Law on Culture (1997) and the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (1999).
According to Article 23, the Constitution of Georgia shall ensure the inviolability of intellectual property and creative freedom. Interference in creative activity or censorship in the creative sphere is not permissible. Placing a prohibition on the product of a creative work or on its distribution shall not be permissible, unless it violates the legal rights of others.
According to Article 34, “The state shall maintain the development of culture, unrestricted participation of citizens in cultural life, expression and enrichment of cultural origins, recognition of national and generic values and a deepening of international cultural relations. Each citizen of Georgia shall be obliged to protect and preserve the cultural heritage. The state shall protect cultural heritage by law.”
According to Article 38, citizens of Georgia are equal in social, economic, cultural and political life regardless of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic origin. The freedom of citizens to use freely their native language and to develop their culture is safeguarded.
The Law on Culture establishes the principles of cultural activity and fundamental human rights and freedoms in the field of culture. In particular, according to Article 4, the principles of cultural activity are:
- Freedom and total independence of cultural activity;
- Recognition of national and common values;
- Protection of intellectual property;
- Inadmissibility of monopoly in the field of culture;
- Accessibility and publicity of cultural and creative activity;
- Facilitating awareness and consolidation of cultural individuality by the citizens of Georgia;
- Humanism of cultural activity.
This law protects:
- The right to participate in cultural activity;
- Priority of workers in creative fields against the rights of other subjects of cultural activity
- The right to creative activity
- Freedom and independence of creative activity
(Interference in the creative process, censorship of creative activity, seizure of a creative work, and prohibition of its distribution shall be impermissible, except in the cases if it infringes on the rights and legal interests of any other person, stirs up national, ethnic, religious, or racial discord, preaches war and violence, or makes propaganda of pornography).
- The human right to cultural individuality
- The right to enjoy cultural values
- Art education (the unrestricted right to receive).
- The property rights in the field of culture (all forms of property are recognized by the legislation of Georgia and shall be permitted in the field of culture. Everyone shall have a property right in the field of culture. The results of creative activity shall be under the ownership of the creator, except as provided for by the legislation of Georgia).
- The right to creation of an organization, institution, association, creative union, other non-governmental union and enterprise in the field of culture
- The right to take the results of one’s own creative activity to a foreign country.
The Law also defines the obligation of a citizen in the field of culture “to respect and protect the principles and norms in the field of culture provided for by the legislation of Georgia.”
The Law also defines the scope of authority of state government bodies in the field of culture. In particular, the state shall:
- Human rights and freedoms in the field of culture, including the right to use the creative and intellectual potential by disabled persons;
- Accessibility of cultural activity, cultural valuables and values;
- Cultural heritage objects and history and culture monuments of Georgia.
- Defining the state cultural policy and programmes through allocations from the budget and other funds;
- Establishing the procedure of disposal of cultural values and ensuring accessibility;
- Equity participation in funding cultural non-governmental organizations;
- Charity and sponsorship;
- Supporting creative workers;
- Fighting against monopoly in the field of creation and distribution of cultural valuables
Strategic Goal 1. “Access to Culture and Cultural Diversity” of Culture Strategy 2025 also refers to the right to cultural diversity, free expression and interaction between different cultures. Examples of the institutionalization of norms of professional ethics can be found in the charters of professional societies and associations. An example of this is the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, which sets ethical standards in the media.
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