In Lithuania, State power is executed by the Parliament (Lith. Seimas), the President of the Republic, the Government, and the Judiciary. The Seimas is the national legislative body composed of 141 members elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot. The Seimas Committee on Culture deals with various cultural development issues, discusses questions of current interest and adopts decisions, and analyses culture-related legislation. Advisory and expert bodies of Seimas are the National Commission for Cultural Heritage, the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania, the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language, and the Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture. All these institutions also have several cultural policy implementation functions. Their governing bodies are composed of members delegated by the Seimas, the President and/or NGO’s working in the relevant areas.
Three independent media policy institutions are established by and accountable to the Seimas: the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics, the Council of Lithuanian National Radio and Television and the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation. The latter institution was established in 1996 and was the first independent cultural policy implementation body of the “arm’s length” type in Lithuania. The Foundation has the legal form of ‘public institution’ that ensures its greater autonomy and independence from political institutions, since Foundation is governed by the General Meeting of the Foundation’s Stakeholders that are various media and culture associations and unions. The stakeholders delegate members to the Council of the Foundation and approve its final composition. The Foundation’s main mission is to support the creation and dissemination of non-commercial cultural and educational content in the Lithuanian media. All projects submitted to the Foundation are evaluated by experts. Expert groups present their conclusions pertaining to project evaluation to the Council of the Foundation. Each year the Foundation publishes its annual activity report, while the chairman of the Council of the Foundation presents the annual report on the allocation and use of the budgetary appropriations each year at a plenary meeting of the Seimas.
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania exercises the executive power in Lithuania. The Ministry of Culture is an institution of the Government, which develops and implements state cultural policy. The main functions of the ministry of culture are to prepare draft laws and other legal acts; define concepts and programmes for the development of different artistic fields, and coordinate their implementation; finance museums, libraries, arts, cinema, concert and other organizations, important art and cultural projects; coordinate the implementation of the system of protection of copyright and related rights; co-ordinate the implementation of public policy in the field of public information; ensure the accounting and protection of cultural property; develop and implement transnational cultural programmes; and draft international treaties.
The Ministry of Culture has 18 advisory councils that provide advice and consultations on current issues of interests in different fields: Media Council, Literature Council, Bilateral Council of Labour and Social Affairs of Lithuanian Cultural Sector, Council on Ethnic Culture and Intangible Cultural Heritage, Council for Cultural Education, Lithuanian Culture and Art Council, Library Council, Film Council, Museum Council, Theatre and Concert Institution Council, Culture Centres Council, Council for Granting the Status of Art Creator and Organisation of Art Creators, Council for Digitisation of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage, Archive Council, Lithuanian Design Council, Song Festivals Council, and Patronage Council.
The Ministry of Culture also have four administrative institutions: Lithuanian Culture Institute, Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania, State Inspectorate on Language, Department of Cultural Heritage.
Cultural policy implementation bodies under the Ministry of Culture are the Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Lithuanian Film Centre. Functions of the Council, defined in the Law on the Council for Lithuanian Culture are as follows: to finance culture and art programmes, projects and other measures; administer the Culture Support Foundation; award grants and provide other financial support to culture creators and artists; organise culture and art research and coordinate the implementation thereof; monitor culture and art projects being carried out; within its remit, prepare and submit conclusions concerning the awarding of prizes established by the Ministry of Culture; etc. The Council allocates state funding to cultural projects through calls for tender and makes financing decisions on the basis of expert judgements.
Activities of the Council are organised in accordance with a publicly announced annual operational plan approved by the order of the Minister of Culture. Priorities and objectives of Council’s activities and financed fields of culture and art as well as result evaluation criteria are laid down by the Minister of Culture in an annual operational plan of the Council. Council’s decisions are taken and executed by the Meeting of the Members of the Council and the Chair of the Council. The Chair of the Council heads the Council, the Meeting of the Members of the Council and the Administration of the Council. The Chair of the Council is appointed to the office for a term of four years and dismissed from it by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister of Culture. The Meeting of the Members of the Council comprises ten members, elected in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Law on the Council for Lithuanian Culture (see chapter 1.1 for more about Council’s members election).
The Lithuanian Film Centre is a budgetary institution under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The principal activity goals of the Centre are to promote long-term development and competitiveness of Lithuanian cinema and participate in the formation of efficient national film policy. The Centre coordinates national film production, administers state funds for the development of the cinema field: organises film project tenders for state funding, consults applicants, administers partial funding of production and promotion, exercises control over the use and reporting of state funding, represents Lithuania in foreign and international organisations, and organises the work of the Film Council that is a consulting body of the Centre. The activities of the Lithuanian Film Centre are organized according to the annual action plan approved by the Minister of Culture. The head of the Centre is director who is appointed and dismissed by the Minister of Culture for a four-year term and is directly subordinate and accountable to the Minister of Culture (see chapter 3.5.3 for more about the Film Centre).