Cultural policy in Slovakia is concentrated on the development of the cultural needs of disadvantaged population groups. The Ministry of Culture creates the conditions for the financial support of the culture of disadvantaged social groups, provides space for equality of opportunity in the area of the culture of health disabled citizens, disadvantaged children and youth, the equality of men and women, and senior citizens. It also creates the conditions for the availability of culture and the support of integration through cultural mechanisms for the marginalised Roma community, migrants, the homeless, and so on.
The Slovak Republic has committed itself to the fulfilment of the Lisbon strategy of 2004 by the approval of the strategic document National Action Plan for Social Inclusion. It also elaborates measures for the Ministry of Culture, which are to secure the development of care for the cultural needs of disadvantaged social groups.
On 1 July 2004, The Slovak Republic National Council passed Act no. 365/2004 Coll. on Equal Treatment in Certain Areas, and on Protection against Discrimination (“Anti-discrimination Act“). Thus, discrimination in Slovakia is forbidden for these reasons: sex, racial origin, national or ethnic origin, religious denomination or belief, health disabilities, age, and sexual orientation.
The priorities for the development of the cultural needs of disadvantaged social groups are in particular to:
- create the conditions for easing access to cultural values for disadvantaged social groups;
- define categories of disadvantaged social groups, determine the nature of their cultural needs on the basis of more difficult access to culture, and also from the standpoint of the special nature of their cultural needs;
- analyse the cultural needs of disadvantaged social groups and determine the possibilities for their development;
- create the conditions for the support of permanent sustainability of institutions developing the culture of disadvantaged social groups;
- support the creation of specific cultural values of disadvantaged social groups; and
- perceive culture as an integrating mechanism, joining the culture of the minority with that of the majority, and approach culture as a system functioning on the universal principle of equality in diversity.
To execute these priorities, the Ministry of Culture created a separate grant programme, which is oriented towards support for so-called live culture and to the publishing of periodical and non-periodical press on issues of interest to socially disadvantaged groups. Six million SKK (about 175 438 euro) was allocated for this programme in the 2007 budget, which represents about 1.2% of the entire grant system budget for 2007.
Part of the cultural programme in the area of socially disadvantaged groups is the determination of the legal obligation of public Slovak television to ensure, in its programming, at least 25% of all programmes with hidden or open subtitles, and at least 1% of the programmes on one broadcasting circuit with sign language for the deaf (§ 18, para. 2 of Act no. 308/2000 Coll. on Broadcasting and Retransmission, in the wording of later regulations).
Working out social cohesion with relation to cultural policy and formulating a programme for implementing social cohesion in cultural practice represents one of the challenges for the next period of formulating the priorities and tasks of the Slovak Republic’s social policy.