2. Current cultural affairs
Last update: November, 2020
The vision of the future state of support for culture laid out in the State Cultural Policy for 2015-2020 (with a View to the Year 2025) was based on the presumed successful management of priorities, objectives, and measures laid out in the government’s official programme (Government Regulation No. 96 of 12 February 2014):
- state expenditure target of support for culture will reach 1% of state budget expenditure;
- the culture sector will not become a vulnerable part of society’s development in the sense of lagging levels of education and culture among the population and insufficient use of cultural heritage as a developmental resource in the global economic environment;
- a culturally diverse society will focus on fostering innovation and on using tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the framework of diverse social groups at the regional level and in local associations while emphasising support for individual cultural expression;
- Czech culture will become an active agent in the European cultural space, international cultural cooperation will be promoted, and European and international awareness of Czech culture will increase;
- an understanding of culture will be promoted that sees it is an economic factor and an important component of the state’s economic policy. Art and culture and the use of cultural heritage through cultural and creative industries will be elements that have a dynamic and modernising effect on the sectoral structure of the national economy;
- there will be increased participation of citizens in cultural events and private, public, and state institutions will contribute significantly to the support, organisation, and funding of the development of cultural services;
- the state will universally support the influx of extra-budgetary resources into cultural life and will use economic, regional, and tax policy to stimulate an active role for culture in the development of society;
- the state will support cultural values that lead to the cultivation of humanity, cooperation, compassion, and the sustainability of human society; support for education will play an essential role in this;
- new legislation in the field of heritage conservation will establish the foundations for the sustainable use of this area of national culture;
- the latest scholarly findings and information and communication technologies will be used towards protecting cultural heritage and facilitating access to culture;
- the cultural environment of communities, regions, and landscapes will be universally supported through the coordinated cultural and regional policy of the state and through tools of regional planning as the basic foundation of the quality of life of the population and the development of related economic activities;
- full use will be made of the resources of the operational programmes (most notably the Integrated Operational Programme, the Enterprise and Innovations Operational Programme and the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education) set up for this period.
These priorities differ little from previous cultural policies. In 2020 the new officials at the MC began to draw up a new cultural policy that would embrace a wider concept of culture and new topics. COVID-19 interrupted this planning, but it highlighted a number of new special issues, such as the status of artists and the need for professional associations and new instruments of support for culture (see below).
Last update: November, 2020
Freedom of artistic expression is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights of Freedoms as part of the Constitution order of the Czech Republic (Constitutional ActNo. 2/1993 Coll. as amended in Constitutional Act No. 162/1998 Coll.).
One of the priorities in the State Cultural Policy in effect to date is support for access to culture, in particular through proposed cooperation with the MEYS on programmes for the development of cultural skills among different segments of the population, strengthening the teaching of cultural skills and knowledge about culture, and improving access to culture by means of free admission to selected exhibitions in museums and galleries.
Cultural institutions create various programmes designed to make culture accessible to the public and they participate in special programmes to improve skills in this area – such as those offered by the Art Institute’s Academy. Nevertheless, the inter-minsterial cooperation with the MEYS envisioned in the State Cultural Policy was not established during the observed period.
Another priority of the State Cultural Policy was to increase the effectiveness of copyright protection and increase awareness of authors’ rights. The shift towards increased digitisation combined with inadequate legal awareness of authorship rights in the arts as a whole has long resulted in unequal access to a proper level of remuneration for artists, and this represents a key problem in the arts.
Last update: November, 2020
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.
Last update: November, 2020
On 3 October 2018 the Government of the Czech Republic adopted Resolution No. 629 on the Digital Czechia programme and proposed changes to the Statute of the Government Council for an Information Society. The programme’s steering body is the Government Council for an Information Society, which is headed by the government Commissioner for Information Technology and Digitisation. The Government Council for an Information Society was set up in 2014 and it is the Government of the Czech Republic’s initiatory and coordinating body in the area of reform of public administration, the information society, the digital agenda, eGovernment, and information and communication technologies.
The ‘Digital Czechia’ programme consists of a set of concepts designed to provide the foundations for the Czech Republic’s long-term success amidst the advancing digital revolution. The programme’s concept can be defined as: ‘A Strategy for the Coordinated and Comprehensive Digitisation of the Czech Republic 2018+’. ‘Digital Czechia’ comprises three main pillars (individual concepts / strategies) that together form a single unit that contains numerous internal ties and reflect in their structure the various addressees they are aimed at and also differences due to the current legislative definition:
- Czechia in a digital Europe (managed by the Office of the Government)
- Information Concept of the Czech Republic (managed by the Ministry of the Interior)
- The Concept of a Digital Economy and Society (managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade)
Also included in this programme is the electronic culture project – eCulture.
Since 2003 the Czech Statistical Office has conducted a survey on the use of information and communication technologies annually in households and among individuals.
In 2014 the share of households with Internet access rose to more than 70% for the first time.
In 2019, 81% of people over the age of 16 in the Czech Republic used the Internet daily or almost every day; 50.5% used the Internet to watch videos, 46.3% to play music, and 23.2% to play games. In 2019, a total of 81.1% of Czech households had an Internet connection.
Watching videos also refers to the practices of streaming videos on websites designed for video sharing (e.g.Youtube), watching programmes available from traditional television or online stations (e.g. iVysílání České televize, Stream.cz),or watching videos on paid service providers (e.g. Netflix or HBO GO) (for more data see here).
Libraries have been the engine of the information society in the field of culture since the mid-1990s. In January 2012 the Government of the CR adopted the Concept for the Development of Libraries in the Czech Republic for 2011-2015, which included bringing libraries online. This Concept aimed to define the conditions for the provision and implementation of complex library services in the real and digital space. The Concept focused on digitisation at different levels, but also dealt with legislative, financial, and methodological support. The objective was to create a conceptual solution for the long-term protection of digital documents and wide accessibility.
The system of libraries has been supported by the programme ‘Public Information Service for Libraries’, with the main aim of innovating public information services for libraries on the basis of information and communication technologies. The Ministry of Culture (MC) has also participated in the project of the Ministry of the Interior called the ‘Project of Internet Provision for Libraries’, where setting up an internet connection in libraries and payment of the related fees were provided with the aim of establishing equal conditions for access to information.
In 2009 the MC adopted the document ‘Digitisation of Cinemas in the CR’, which defined the basic principles and directions for the transition to digital image and sound projection. Based on this document financial support was introduced for digitisation of cinemas provided by the State Cinematography Fund (see also chapter 3.5.3. and chapter 7.2.2.).
In February 2009, the Film Council, which associates Czech professional film associations, festivals, and institutions, set up a working group for the digitisation of Czech films, whose purpose was to devise proposals for making the ‘golden stock of Czech cinematography’ digitally accessible both in cinemas and on other distribution channels in the best possible quality. The resulting document – ‘The Digitisation of Czech Film Works – A Concept Proposal’ – was presented in April 2010. The digitisation of Czech films was also dealt with in the Concept of Support and Development of Czech Cinematography and the Czech Film Industry 2011-2016.
The MC also participates in national and international activities connected with the digitisation of cultural content in relation to the initiative of the EC i2010: Digital Libraries. In 2013 the Government of the Czech Republic adopted the Strategy for the Digitisation of Culture for 2013-2020, which lays out the strategic goals of digitisation and the goals of individual branches in the cultural sector. The Concept contains the following main strategic goals:
- ensuring the professional and lay public has equal access to cultural content in digital format;
- digitisation of cultural content and the collection of digital documents as a part of the cultural heritage;
- the safe preservation of digital documents;
- creating the organisational and technical preconditions for the permanent storage of and access to digital documents including the formation of a special working group.
The Ministry for Regional Development, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs prepared the Integrated Operational Programme, which was approved by the European Commission in December 2007 and was part of the European Structural and Investment Funds programme period 2007-2013. At the start of 2010, as part of the Integrated Operational Programme several projects relating to digitisation and cultural accessibility were initiated, such as the National Digital Library and the Information Cultural Portal Czechiana, which was designed as a national data aggregator for Europeana.
The national digital library is represented by the sum of activities that the National Library of the Czech Republic engages in with partner institutions for the purpose of digitising and facilitating access to the national library’s extensive resources. This largely involves the work conducted on the grant project ‘Creation of a National Digital Library’, co-funded from the EU Structural Funds (European Fund for Regional Development) through the Ministry of the Interior’s Integrated Operational Programme. As part of this grant project the National Library of the Czech Republic and the Moravian Library in Brno are digitising, securing the long-term protection, and facilitating access to a large part of their collections. As part of work building the National Digital Library materials are being digitised and processed and then deposited and preserved in the digital depository.
The National Library also concluded an agreement with Google, which will digitise a further 200 000 works from historical and Slavic collections from the period between the 16th to 18th centuries.
In the Czech Republic, these programmes are not particularly intended for artists who work with new media and technologies. Artistic projects of this nature are supported under the grant selection procedures of the Ministry of Culture in the form, for instance, of showcases, exhibitions, and other artistic projects. New media are introduced together with visual arts and photography under the grant systems operated by individual towns, such as the grants offered by the City of Prague. NGOs are however working intensively on this issue.
In response to the protective measures that were introduced as part of the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and impact culture, extraordinary calls for proposals have been issued for projects to support access to culture via digital technologies, and these have been issued at the level of both the state and the City of Prague. At the state level this involved an extraordinary call for proposals centred on providing access to the arts via digital media, with a total amount of 30 million CZK available.
Last update: November, 2020
Ethnic minorities are defined as citizens of the Czech Republic (CR) who claim a nationality other than Czech. Foreigners are defined as people with citizenship other than Czech.
The definition of the term ethnic minority and member of a national minority is described in Act No. 273/2001 Coll. In line with this Act, the Government Council for Ethnic Minorities was established as an advisory and initiative body for issues connected with ethnic minorities and their members and the protection of minority languages. The Council is also chaired by a member of the Government of the CR. There are 30 members of the Council, and they include the vice-ministers of finance, culture, education, labour, interior, justice, and foreign affairs and representatives of 14 ethnic minorities – Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian, Russian, Greek, Slovak, Serbian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese and 2 Jewish and Vlax Roma communities.
Since 2002 the Council has annually submitted the ‘Report on the Situation of Ethnic Minorities in the CR’ to the government. It is based on reports from all the ministries involved, bodies of local and regional government, representatives of ethnic minorities in the Council, and other background information. Since 2002 the Report has changed mostly in connection with ratification of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in the CR. A greater proportion of the report is dedicated to applying ethnic-minority policy on the local and regional level – specifically, to the implementation of the Charter.
Ethnic minorities are supported mostly through subsidy programmes in the state budget (Ministry of Culture (MC), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MEYS), and the Office of the Government of the CR) and is divided up thematically into the following programmes:
- support for the preservation, development, and presentation of the culture of ethnic minorities;
- support for the dissemination and spread of information in the languages of ethnic minorities;
- support for education in the languages of ethnic minorities and multicultural education;
- support for projects of integration of members of the Roma community.
The Office of the Government of the CR maintains the following support programmes:
- Implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;
- Programme of Support for Field Work;
- Support for Coordinators of Roma Consultants in Regional Offices; and
- Programme for the Prevention of Social Exclusion and for Community Work.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports run three programmes in the field of education:
- Programme of Support for Education in Languages of Ethnic Minorities, Extra-curricular and Leisure Activities for Children and Youth;
- Development Programme in Support of Schools Implementing Inclusive Education; and
- Programme of Support for Projects for the Socially Disadvantaged and Ethnic Minorities in Post-secondary Education
The MC has three programmes:
- Programme of Support for Disseminating and Receiving Information in Languages of National Minorities – support for periodical press, radio and television broadcasting;
- Programme of Support for Cultural Activities of National Minority Members – support for artistic, cultural, and educational activities, research and analysis of national culture and folk traditions, documentation of national cultures, editorial activity, and multi-ethnic cultural events aiming to combat intolerance and xenophobia; and
- Programme of Support for Roma Community Integration – it focuses on creating equal conditions for members of the Roma community, especially support for social and cultural activities executed by Roma community organisations.
In addition to these three programmes, the MC provides state subsidies for the activities of ethnic minorities, for instance, as part of its programme Library of the 21st century, for libraries working with ethnic minorities, for the integration of foreigners, and for multi-ethnic activities in the field of culture, the aim of which is to promote cultural dialogue and shared knowledge of different cultures within the framework of other grant competitions.
The MC is also responsible for the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno. In 2023 the Museum will open the Centre for the Roma and the Sinti in Prague, which will showcase Roma history and intellectual and material culture and will thus also become a social and community centre, offering a range of educational and cultural activities for the wider public.
The creation of a specialised worksite of the Museum of Roma Culture is funded by the Norway Grants – Human Rights Programme, integration of the Roma, and domestic and gender-based violence. A partner in the project is the European Wergeland Centre in Oslo.
The EEA and Norway Grants have a long tradition in the Czech Republic of supporting human rights. Many of the programmes of the EEA and Norway Grants in the Czech Republic are aimed at improving the integration of the Roma in society and at combating racism and xenophobia (see also chapter 1.4.2.).
Another programme of the EEA and Norway Grants is the Culture Programme, which focuses on supporting the cultural expression of minorities in contemporary art and on the inclusion and the cultural heritage of minorities (including Roma and Jewish peoples). Thanks to the Culture Programme, direct support will be provided to a predefined project of the Museum of Roma Culture, namely the Building of a memorial to the Roma victims of the Holocaust in Lety nearPísek in the sum of 1.5 million EUR. This project will be implemented in 2021-2024, and in addition to the construction of the monument an educational programme will be set up, which will be prepared in cooperation with the Norwegian Falstad Centre.
Programmes in the field of culture and education also address other minorities such as the Jewish community. Projects by civic associations of these minorities are supported, as is the Jewish Museum in Prague. The Ministry of Culture also manages the organisation Terezín Memorial, which carries out research and educational activities on the Holocaust.
The Concept for the Integration of Foreigners was first adopted by the government in December 2000; the most recently updated version is for 2020. Integration means the process of including foreigners in society, a reciprocal process that necessarily involves foreigners themselves and also the majority society. The Concept from the start has envisioned the involvement of several ministries. Coordination of the Concept is in the hands of the Ministry of the Interior of the CR, which each year also submits to the government a Report on the Implementation of the Concept. The updated Concept is based on an analysis of the current situation and of problems identified in the field of the integration of foreigners, and it specifically outlines the goals of this policy.
The Concept’s implementation is guided by the government’s annually updated Method for the Implementation of the Current Concept for the Integration of Foreigners – in Mutual Respect (2020).
The Ministry of the Interior (MI) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the CR regularly update their joint website Foreigners in the CR (http://wwww.cizinci.cz), which also provides access to Information Publications for foreigners in 7 language versions. The website provides access to necessary documents and contacts for state administration and foreigners and it provides necessary information for following a uniform process for achieving the integration of foreigners in the CR.
The Czech Statistical Office elaborates and publishes statistical data on the number of foreigners in the CR, their regional distribution, classification according to sex, citizenship, age, type and purpose of stay in the CR, the asylum procedure for foreigners, their economic activity and other data. Statistics take into account only those foreigners residing legally in the CR.
The number of foreigners in the Czech Republic has been on the rise since 2008. The latest available data are for the year 2018. In 2018, there were 564 300 foreign nationals living in the Czech Republic, which represented 0.53% of the total population. For comparison, in 2013 there were 441 500 foreign nationals living in the CR. The majority of foreign nationals are third-country citizens. In 2018 citizens of the EU-28 states made up 41.2% of the total number of foreign nationals legally resident in the Czech Republic. The largest group of foreign nationals from a third country (and overall) continues to be Ukrainians (131 300), followed by Vietnamese (61 100), and citizens of the Russian Federation (38 000). The largest number of foreign nationals by citizenship among foreign nationals from EU countries are Slovaks (116 800), Germans (21 300), and Poles (21 300).
There are certain differences, however, in the geographical distribution of foreign nationals according to state citizenship. Prague remains the most attractive location for all foreign nationals. Ukrainian citizens are concentrated more in the Central Bohemian Region and the South Moravian Region. Vietnamese citizens are largely settled in Prague but also in the Czech-German border regions. Citizens of the Russian Federation tend to be drawn to the Central Bohemian, Southern Moravian, and Karlovy Vary Regions as well as Prague.
For the year 2008, the Arts and Theatre Institute, a state organisation, became the main organiser of the national project Together across Cultures. A national strategy for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in the CR was established and a national project was organised on its basis. The project priorities were:
- promoting and highlighting issues connected with intercultural dialogue in an effort to change the thinking in Czech society and among minorities, communities, and immigrants with an emphasis on the school-based and out-of-school education of young people; and
- the integration of foreigners and the Roma community using cultural and artistic activities.
In 2008, as part of the national project Together across Cultures, the Portal of Intercultural Dialogue was established. The portal was meant to serve as the main communication channel for the year. It has been maintained to date and at present serves as an open platform mainly for NGOs and for NGO activity in the field of culture and education directed at intercultural dialogue, which contributes to fulfilling the objectives of migration and integration policy in the CR.
In July 2010 the Czech Republic ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and in 2014 the Czech Republic submitted its first preliminary evaluative report. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the implementation of the Convention. In connection with the Convention’s implementation an international meeting was organised in Prague in autumn 2013 that focused on the method and system of implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic also annually contributes financially to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity.
For more on projects on intercultural education in the Czech Republic, see chapter 2.5.2.
Last update: November, 2020
The issue of intercultural education appears in all the strategic documents of the MEYS: e.g. the White Book – the National Programme for the Development of Education in the Czech Republic (2001); the Long-Term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System in the Czech Republic (2007); and the Concept of State Policy for Children and Young People for the Period 2007–2013. Each year the MEYS announces its Programme in Support of Education in the Languages of Ethnic Minorities and Intercultural Education. Supported projects focus on educational activities for children and young people, on ethnic minorities, on the creation and application of educational programmes, and on teaching materials for children and young people and for teaching staff that are designed to combat racial and ethnic intolerance and anti-Semitism. Projects also focus on integrative and multicultural projects and quantitative and qualitative studies and analyses in the field of the multicultural education of children and young people. It also announces the development programme In Support of Schools, which applies inclusive education and the education of socio-culturally disadvantaged children and students. The MEYS has also joined the Council of Europe's Platform of Information Materials for Multilingual and Intercultural Education.
Many elementary arts schools and arts and extracurricular activity centres include materials from other cultures or countries in their learning programmes (e.g. playing music by foreign artists, songs from around the world, etc.). However, this depends on the individual approach of each teacher.
The Inclusive School Portal provides handbooks, recommendations, and examples of best practice in the field of intercultural education that are aimed at both the professional community and the general public.
Among NGOs, intercultural education is a focal area of the People in Need Foundation, which, as part of its educational programmes, offers, for example, its ‘Variants’ programme. The aim of this educational programme, which has been operating for more than a decade, is to serve as an information service and methodological support in the field of intercultural and global development education. Courses and seminars prepared by the staff of the Variants programme are attended each year by more than 1500 people, most of them elementary and secondary school teachers, but also by students in various post-secondary study programmes, NGO staff, and employees in public administration. In addition to educational activities, the programme works to develop new teaching materials in this field. The Variants programme is also involved in supporting inclusive education and the introduction of systemic measures aimed at incorporating themes of intercultural and global development education into the curriculum of Czech schools.
Last update: November, 2020
The Ministry of Culture (MC) is the body responsible for media in the Czech Republic. The Ministry manages the assets of publishers of periodic publications and it prepares legislation in the field.
Television broadcasters have a number of obligations according to European regulations (Directive 2010/13/EU on Audio-visual Media Services).
The legislative framework for radio and television broadcasting has allowed the creation of a dual system of broadcasting, i.e. the coexistence of a public and a private sector, with the consequence of exceptional dynamic development in the field of media. In 2001, the new Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting (Act No. 231/2001 Coll.) was adopted. This Act defines the rights and duties of operators of radio and television broadcasting, the license system, and the registration of rebroadcasting operators. In 2010 the Act on Audio-visual Media Services was adopted in line with Directive 2010/13/EU. The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting oversees adherence to legislation in the area of radio and television broadcasting, the licensing of radio and television broadcasters, and the issuing of decisions on the registration of rebroadcasters, and it also maintains a register of broadcasters, rebroadcasters, and providers of audio-visual media services on demand.
Czech Television, Czech Radio and someother broadcasters are defined in the law by the specific task of public service broadcasting that they perform. These operators are independent of the state, they do not receive any state subventions, and their activity is financed with the income from radio and television fees and the income from their commercial activities (especially advertising and yields from copyright, rental of technical equipment etc.). Czech Television and Czech Radio provide services for the public by producing and broadcasting television or radio programmes or other multimedia content and support services. The work of Czech Television is overseen by the Council for Television Broadcasting and Czech Radio’s work is overseen by the Council for Czech Radio. The members of the Council are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the CR. One of Council's tasks is to appoint the Director-General of Czech Television and Czech Radio.
The new Act on Radio and TV Fees came into force in 2005. Since 1 September 2005 the radio fee has been 45 CZK, and the TV fee has been 135 CZK since 1 January 2008. Since 1 June 2010 radio and television receivers that are an integral part of a terminal mobile telecommunication device (i.e. a cell phone) are not subject to fees.
The number of television programmes was limited until the change in digital technology (DVB-T technology). Two commercial television stations, NOVA and PRIMA, came onto the market alongside the public Czech Television. The transformation of digital broadcasting in the CR has proceeded in line with the Concept of Digital Radio and TV Broadcasting Transition in the CR (July 2001). The transition to digital television broadcasting was proceeding in line with changes introduced to the relevant legislation (e.g. Act on Communications).
According to the Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting, Czech Television and Czech Radio are required to compile a programme structure that provides a well-balanced selection of programmes for all inhabitants with regard to age, sex, skin colour, faith, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, and minority status. The Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting oversees compliance with the Act.
In August 2013 Czech Television began broadcasting two new channels: the cultural channel ČT Art and the children's channel ČT: D, which both air on the same broadcasting channel but in different time slots. The arts channel airs from 8pm to 6am. With the creation of a special channel, culture is for the first time being given consistent and regular space during prime broadcasting hours and in a public medium. ČT also supports the creation of new cultural programming.
There are some channels devoted solely to music among the commercial television stations - TV Óčko, Retro Music TV,and FajnRockMusicTV and Radio. There is also online television stations targeting the young generation and culture. One of them is Mall.tv, which also provides access to broadcasts of Czech cultural performances, events, and exhibitions during the COVID-19 crisis.
The only legislation that regulates the publishing periodical press in the Czech Republic is the Act on the Rights and Responsibilities of Publishing the Periodical Press and Amendment of Certain other Regulations (Press Act 2000). In line with this Act the MC maintains a Register of Publishers of the Periodical Press. The National Library of the CR processes statistical data on the periodic press based on obligatory copies sent to it by publishers; these data are part of the statistics for culture for individual years.
The MC uses its grant programmes to support cultural periodicals in the form of grants in all fields and disciplines. The MC is the only source of support for the majority of literary magazine publishers, but the budget is very limited. The MC also announces a grant/funding competition for supporting media and audio-visual production among children, for the education of teachers in the field of media, and for projects promoting the Czech media field abroad.
In addition, it organises the ‘Programme of Support for Promoting and Receiving Information in Languages of Ethnic Minorities – Support for Periodical Press, Radio or Television Broadcasting’ (see also chapter 2.5).
Last update: November, 2020
The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, and it is used by the majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic (CR) – about 96%. Its use is not, however, defined by a special language act. In 2004, a proposal by Communist MPs for an amendment to the Constitution that would implement a national and official language was rejected. The attitude of the government to the proposal was negative.
In line with their corresponding acts – such as the Act on Lotteries and Other Similar Games, the Trade Licensing Act, the Act on the Organisation and Implementation of Social Security – the offices (such as the Trades Licensing Offices or the Czech Social Security Administration) discuss issues and develop resolutions in the Czech language.
Financial offices also use the Slovak language officially and all their resolutions are in the Czech or Slovak language. Using the Czech or Slovak languages is anchored in the Act on the Administration of Taxes and Fees.
The citizens of the Czech Republic that belong to national and ethnic minorities can act in their own language according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms. If they have an interpreter, the state will pay the cost. The exceptions are the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Civil Procedure that guarantee the right to an interpreter during court proceedings and with law enforcement authorities, but without reimbursement of the cost.
Leaflets and other publications must be published in the Czech language as defined by the Act on Consumer Protection. The authority in matters of the Czech language and also the codifier of the literary standard is the Institute of Czech Language of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, as of 31 March 2020 the Czech Republic had 10 694 364 inhabitants. The Czech Housing and Population Census consistently include a question on ethnicity. The last such survey was conducted in March 2011; the next one will be in 2021. The share of ethnic Germans in the population, who were a very large minority before the Second World War, has dramatically fallen because of the post-war expulsion of Germans. During the existence of Czechoslovakia, the share of ethnic Slovaks (in the Czech part of the Republic) grew steadily. The census in 2001 also began to include foreigners with a long-term residence status in the overall number of inhabitants, in line with international recommendations.The second-largest language by number of speakers (after the Czech language) is the Slovak language; followed by Polish, German and Romany.
Table 2: Population structure by ethnicity in 2001 and 2011(in %) – ‘Czech’ ethnicity includes Moravians and Silesians
|Ethnicity||2001 in %||2011 in %|
Source: Czech Statistical Office based on the Housing and Population Census 2001 and 2011.
Many programmes are dedicated to the support of other nationalities and their languages; see also chapter 2.5.
Last update: November, 2020
In April 1998, the government adopted the programme Priorities and Procedures of the Government for the Enforcement of Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, which characterises the main aims, methods, and procedures in the field of gender policy for the first time. Each year in June a progress report is submitted to the government and updated measures for the given year are approved. The body responsible for this issue is the Government Council for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men operating under the Office of the Government of the CR. The Council has been working since 2001 and it draws up proposals for promoting and achieving equal opportunities, it discusses the conceptual guidelines for government procedure in this area, it coordinates the basic guidelines for ministerial concepts, and it sets the priority areas for ministerial projects, and so on. The Council is made up of representatives of the ministries, unions, academic institutions, and NGOs. ‘Optimising the Institutional Infrastructure of Equal Opportunities for Men and Women in the Czech Republic’(2012-2015) was a project of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs run within the framework of the Structural Funds of the Operational Programme of Human Resources and Employment. The aim is to formulate effective instruments and policies in support of equal opportunities.
The Czech Statistical Office in cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic annually publishes a book titled Focus on Women, Focus on Men; the 20th edition, the most recent one, came out in December 2019. The book examines the differences between women and men in various fields of life in modern society (most data is for the year 2018). The publication of this book constitutes the Czech Statistical Office’s fulfilment of Task No. 13 of the Minimum Standards that are part of the Government Strategy for the Equality of Women and Men in the Czech Republic for 2014–2020.
The publication contains a number of international comparisons and a section with selected results from sociological research on gender issues and data from the research of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA). According to the 2018 version of this publication, among people working in the fields of culture, entertainment and recreation, 48.5% were women and 48.4% were men. In the Czech Republic the total employment rate among women was 69.6% and among men, it was 83.3% (in the EU28 the figures are an employment rate of 68.2% among women and 79.2% among men).
The MC does not directly deal with equal opportunities for men and women in its programmes but it supports entities that deal with gender issues – for example in the selection procedure for the ‘One World’ international film festival on human rights. The issue of gender and feminism is generally widely discussed in the CR and there are many non-governmental organisations involved in related activities, such as the Association for Equal Opportunities for Men and Women, which organises various seminars and represents 30 women’s and family organisations. The platform for gender issues is a website (http://www.feminismus.cz) that also includes the database of the Gender Studies Library, a public benefit organisation, with academic and diploma theses about this topic. Another important website is http://www.proequality.cz (ProEquality Centre), which aims to initiate new tools to support equal opportunities for men and women, not only in the labour market, but also to provide services for public administration in the field of gender expertise and actively participate in public debates about essential topics concerning equal opportunities for men and women.
Gender Studies is one of the masters’ programmes offered at the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University, which also teaches some undergraduate level courses in this subject area.
Last update: November, 2020
The Government Committee for People with Disabilities is a permanent coordinating initiative, and advisory body of the Government of the Czech Republic on the issue of supporting citizens with disabilities. It was established by Resolution No. 151 of the Government of Czech Republic dated 8 May 1991. The committee deals with problems that no one ministry can resolve independently. Its mission is to help create equal opportunities in every area of society for citizens with disabilities. People with disabilities themselves participate in its work through their representatives on the Committee.
The Government Committee has collaborated on the preparation of strategic documents and measures since it was founded. In 2004 the Government of the Czech Republic adopted the Medium-Term Concept of a State Policy for Citizens with Disabilities, the goals and tasks of which formed the basis for the development of the National Plan for the Support and Integration of Citizens with Disabilities for 2006-2009, adopted in 2005. The next plan was the National Plan for Creating Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities for 2010-2014, adopted in 2010, which was updated annually. The plan currently in effect, the National Plan of Support for Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities for 2015-2020, was adopted with the introduction of Government Resolution No. 385 dated 25 May 2015, and its content and structure are based, like the previous plan, on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Committee helps to disseminate information on disabilities among the general public, and one way it does this is by announcing the VVOZP Awards. These are the ‘Government Committee for Persons with Disabilities’ awards for the best works in print, radio, or television journalism devoted to the subject of disability. The competition has been held every year since 1994.
The Secretariat of the Government Committee for Persons with Disabilities administers the National Development Programme of Mobility for All, the purpose of which is to support the implementation of comprehensive barrier-free or disabled-accessible routes in cities, towns, and villages. Such measures involve removing the barriers to accessibility in buildings occupied by state and public institutions and making transport accessible.
The Secretariat of the Government Committee for Persons with Disabilities also administers the grant programme of Support for the Public Benefit Activities of Disability Associations.
To support the cultural activities of citizens with disabilities and seniors in the Czech Republic, every year the MC provides grants for a variety of different activities, such as art-therapy programmes, the artistic work of people with disabilities and artists with disabilities, and projects that facilitate easier access to culture by eliminating information barriers.
Support in the labour market is generally the concern of the National Fund to Support the Employment of People with Disabilities, which was created in 2007.
Last update: November, 2020
In the CR, culture and art have not yet become systematically anchored as tools of social inclusion. This situation is demonstrated by the content of the National Programme for the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, which was developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the CR (MPSV).
None of the priorities took culture or art into account as tools for social inclusion. Even NAPSI (the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion in the CR) makes no mention of creative or artistic approaches to social inclusion or of the need to include them in the programmes of the Ministry of Culture (MK) or the MPSV.
The MLSA administers the Committee for Social Integration with representatives of various ministries (there is no representative of the Ministry of Culture on the Committee), the Office of the Government, the Office of the Public Defender of Rights, regions, municipalities, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The Committee’s role was significantly reinforced following the adoption of the Strategy for Social Inclusion 2014–2020 (Government Resolution No. 24 of 8 January 2014). Social integration and equal opportunities are focused mostly on helping people at risk of social exclusion. Special focus is placed on members of Roma communities, migrants, and other groups from different socio-cultural backgrounds. This topic is the subject of long-term discussions and studies in the CR.
According to a study of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 2006 there was approximately 80 000 people living in excluded localities, almost one-quarter of whom are not Roma. Yet according to official estimates there are around 170 000 Roma living in the Czech Republic. The situation of the Roma minority has been one of the most pressing issues in Czech society since 1989; approximately one-third of Roma suffer from social exclusion and from a low level of education, qualifications, long-term unemployment, and poverty. On the other hand, it is important to note the fact that in the Czech Republic social exclusion is to some extent ethnicised. Being a member of another ethnicity (usually Roma) is frequently viewed in negative terms by the majority society and is the source of some discrimination, usually in the labour market, in education, and even in housing.
In 2008 the Government of the Czech Republic created the Agency for Social Integration in Roma Communities, specifically selecting 14 communities with the biggest problems to start with. The Agency for Social Inclusion has been established by the Ministry of the Regional Development of the Czech Republic to provide support to local governments in the process of social inclusion. It is now working with 71 communities. The Agency operates under the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and is headed by the Government Human Rights Commissioner. It is an instrument of the Government of the Czech Republic for supporting municipalities in the process of social integration. The specific focus lies in the Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion for the period 2016-2020. However, it contains no mention of support for culture
In December 2009, the government adopted the Concept of Roma Integration 2010-2013. In February 2015 a new Concept of Roma Integration 2015-2020 was adopted that ties in with the previous concept and its objective is to reverse negative trends in the situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic by 2020, most notably in education, employment, housing, and on a social level. Another goal is to initiate and accelerate positive changes and achieve progress in eliminating unjustified and unacceptable differences between many Roma and the majority population. Equally it aims to establish effective means of defending the Roma against discrimination and promote the advancement of Roma culture and the Roma language.
The State Cultural Policy for 2015–2020 also takes into account persons at risk of or already suffering from social exclusion (including members of the Roma minority) through specific projects supporting inclusion that reflect the needs of these citizens for self-realisation, the needs of registered clients at branches of the labour office, or the needs of disabled persons and the needs of the cultural sector. These are foremost projects designed to support forms of intercultural dialogue for instance through cultural activities involving people with disabilities, Roma festivals, and so forth.
This cultural policy also seeks to appropriately support the development of requalification opportunities in fields relating to culture for the aforementioned groups of citizens and projects in which they can apply these qualifications. Of key importance is the creation of tools of cooperation between all relevant partners, most notably fostering collaboration between providers of public cultural services and public employment services, and ensuring quality training for target groups and permanent professional oversight during the implementation of projects.
In 2010 the Czech Office of the EU Culture Programme issued a publication titled ‘Artists and Society – Examples of Cultural Projects in the Field of Social Inclusion’. The publication contains 23 Czech projects as examples of best practice, other foreign and international projects, links to websites, and strategic and funding programmes.
Source: Švec, J. (ed.): Příručka pro sociální integraci, Úřad vlády ČR, odbor pro sociální začleňování v romských lokalitách, 2010 [Handbook forSocialIntegration. Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Department of Social Integration in Roma Neighbourhoods.
Last update: November, 2020
The State Cultural Policy for 2015-2020 includes as one of its priorities support for access to culture and the development of participative culture to facilitate social integration.
The Concept of Support for the Arts for 2015-2020 identifies as a new issue the social or societal impacts of the arts and contains the first mention in a strategic document of the importance of this issue in comparison with the economic impacts that have the priority focus until now.
Under the Culture Programme of the EEA Grants 2014-2021, in 2020 a call for proposals for contemporary art projects was announced for projects that support artistic activities designed to promote inclusiveness and a sustainable society and resolve problems and their causes. Support goes to projects that address current social challenges, community and regional projects that address local needs, and projects that seek to integrate disadvantaged groups.
Last update: November, 2020
The Government Council for Sustainable Development is a permanent advisory, initiatory, and coordinating body of the government concerned with the area of sustainable development, strategic management, and the long-term priorities of the state. The Council receives technical and administrative backing from the Ministry of the Environment.
The Council is responsible for creating key strategic materials devoted to sustainable development for the Czech Republic: the Strategic Framework of the Czech Republic 2030 (hereinafter just ‘CR 2030’) and the Implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (Sustainable Development Goals) in the Czech Republic.
The subject of culture is a part of the ‘CR 2030’ strategy and part of the Implementation of Agenda 2030, specifically under the goal Support for a peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development, the ensuring of access to justice, and the creation of effective, responsible, and inclusive institutions at every level, and under the goal Greater public investment to support key functions of culture and equal access to culture and creativity.
Culture is also a part of the Regional Development Strategy of the CR 2014–2020. The local level is a driver of sustainable culture in the CR. Treaditionally there has been a dense network of cultural organisations of various types in the Czech Republic. In recent years it has been possible to witness an enormous amount of activity on this level among cultural associations and citizens’ groups, who are trying to exert pressure on cities to achieve sustainable development across different sectors.
By 2015 Czech museums had already become involved in International Museum Day under the shared motto ‘Museums for a sustainable society’. The theme of sustainable culture and arts has begun to receive attention from various cultural institutions and individual artists in their activities and artistic work.
A change in thinking about the transformation, not just of artistic organisations, is the objective of the platform Art for the Climate. At the start of 2019 it initiated the Statement of Prague Cultural Institutions on the Declaration of a State of Climate Emergency within the City of Prague, which had 80 signatories. It thereby also prompted artistic interventions.
In 2019 a meeting of representatives of cultural organisations took place at which participants agreed that some cultural organisations have already been addressing this issue for some time and have introduced concrete measures designed to make their operations more environmentally friendly. Participants also noted the limited knowledge and the limited awareness about the responsibility cultural institutions have for the impact of their activities on the public.
An example of best practices is provided by the Prague Quadrennial (the biggest international exhibition of performance design). When it was last held in 2019, it focused on responsibility for the living environment. As well as the re-use of props it also worked to connect foreign exhibitors with local suppliers, to prepare promotional items in collaboration with Czech labels, and to limit the use of plastic and to recycle waste. It then presented its experiences at a conference titled ‘The Highs and Lows of Environmental Sustainability: The Possibilities and Limits of Responsibility for the Living Environment When Organising International Festivals’, in which 81 representatives from 46 organisations interested in the subject of environmental responsibility participated. Part of the conference was an innovative ideas exchange, where ideas for sustainable solutions were shared.
The issue of sustainability has aso been discussed in the CR and has been foregrounded even further by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, the ATI, a state contributory organisation, introduced a new criterium into its programme of support for short-term mobility, stipulating that in the case of travel of less than 700 km, flights must be replaced with some form of ground transport. This subject was also dealt with at the international conference Culture of Mobility in the Time of Climate Change.
In 2019 a strike and events were organised as part of Climate Week, in which a large number of cultural organisations and institutions throughout the CR took part.
In January 2020 a round table was held in Brno that involved an open discussion with the general public on the subject of the situation of cultural institutions in a time of climate change. The discussion dealt, among other things, with the exhibition accompanying the Jindřich Chalupecký Prize 2019, which in response to the current climate situation was significantly defined by the decision to use alternative energy sources to power the entire exhibition and at the same time to use the occasion to calculate and acknowledge what the energy demands and carbon footprint of the event were.
Last update: November, 2020
In the past decade discussion has largely revolved around the issue of the amount of support for culture provided by the state, which has been reduced several times and only in recent years has begun to increase again. This complex situation has not benefited either from the fact that there has been a substantial increase in VAT in recent years. Since January 2012 the lower VAT rate has risen from 10% to 14%, while the list of items subject to VAT has remained unchanged. The basic rate remained at 20%. The rate was supposed to be changed to a uniform 17.5% from January 2013. However, in the end the government agreed to increase both rates by just one percentage point, from 14% to 15% and from 20% to 21%. The dramatic increase in VAT in recent years has had a huge impact on the cultural sector because many items were originally subject to the lower VAT rate. The new Government in 2014 promised a lower VAT rate would be re-introduced from January 2015 set at 10%, which would apply to children’s food and books as well as medicine, and it did as promised (see also chapter 4.1.4.).
Debates and the development of new civic initiatives revolve around financial issues, but also around the lack of transparency in the tender procedures for so-called priority activities at the MC, the grant selection procedures at the municipal level, or the selection procedures for appointing directors of cultural institutions.
The year 2014 also ushered in a fundamental change in connection with the new Civil Code (Act No. 89/2012 Coll.). The old Civil Code was replaced with an entirely new set of legislation that unites all the legislation in the area of civil law into a single code. As soon as the new Civil Code came into effect the Commercial Code (Act No. 513/1991 Coll.), for instance, became a thing of the past.
The year 2019 saw the nighteenth change in the post of Minister of Culture since 1989. The swift succession of alternating ministers in previous years was accompanied also by a large turnover in personnel occupying lower posts in the Ministry of Culture and has had the effect of disrupting continuity and strategic thinking at the MC. Compounding this has been the annual decrease in the amount of resources directed into the sector of culture.
A real and current challenge for cultural strategies was ushered in with the COVID-19 crisis. During the crisis, new formal and informal groups began to emerge in the sphere of culture that across both the commercial and non-commercial sectors put increasing pressure on public administration through cultural advocacy and lobbying. Up to the crisis, the purely commercial sector of the arts had existed without any public support and depended on revenue from admission and entrance fees. In an unprecedented development, the MC responded to pressure by gradually communicating with individual representatives of the commercial sector of the performing arts – for example, musicals, summer theatres, music festivals, and the field’s umbrella organisations.
The music sector has come together to form what is called the ‘Czech Music Community’. This new platform emerged spontaneously during the state of emergency in April 2020. It brings together professionals in the fields of pop and classical music. This platform also launched the project #zazivouhudbu, which resulted in proposals such as to eliminate VAT from music sales, to reduce VAT on the sale of admission tickets to 10%, to extend the special state support for people in the music industry working freelance with a trade licence, to introduce a system of interest-free loans, and the founding of the National Music Fund, which would help to deal with the losses. Together with the MC it also created a working group that is dedicated to the issues of the music industry.
The Czech Music Community also formed ties with the International Theatre Institute and together they prepared a series of letters to relevant ministries in which they requested that clear details be set out regarding the timetable for relaxing the government’s emergency measures to combat COVID-19 and regarding changes to the limits on the compensation bonus provided in the frame of support for self-employed persons and the special Covid-Culture I and II programmes.
The Government of the Czech Republic approved the first package of support to help save culture in the amount of 1.07 billion CZK, which was primarily intended to help support contributory organisations of the state and the municipalities and entities that in the past were already supported with state funding. This package also included a special call for proposals (for projects) supporting access to the arts via digital media in the amount of 30 million CZK.
Other measures adopted applied to the entire culture sector. The Ministry of Culture passed a bill, No. 247/2020 Coll., on some measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic of the Coronavirus called SARS CoV-2 in the area of cultural events. It was made possible for organisers of cultural events to issue vouchers for a cultural event instead of refunding an admission fee.
In June the Government of the Czech Republic approved a reduction in the rate of VAT on admission/entrance fees from 15% to 10%. It then approved a special grant programme to support business entities in the culture sector, the ‘COVID-CULTURE’ programme for cultural and creative industries, which was prepared jointly by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Culture. This was an unprecedented step of a joint programme being created in the culture sector by two ministries.
COVID-19 ushered in a general paradigm shift. Over the course of the crisis the Ministry of Culture progressed from its initial support aimed mainly at entities that had already been supported in the past to opening up a more intensive dialogue and providing support for the entire cultural sector across both its commercial and non-commercial branches.
One of the by-products of the crisis is that it has become apparent that there is a need to define the status of artists in the Czech Republic, which has not yet been defined. In this connection the MC initiated the step of dealing with this issue in the new State Cultural Policy.