CULTURE, CHURCH, NATIONAL MINORITIES

The basic philosophy of our approach to culture is to change its understanding at the level of government policies.

Culture will cease to be a narrowly understood sectoral policy and will become a cross-section policy that will be part of all state policies and a clearly declared government priority in order to achieve a new identity and success.

We want to increase the presence of culture and art in the everyday lives of Slovak citizens and in the public space, because access to culture, art and beauty is seen as an essential part of public service. Slovakia can be a country with a modern cultural identity that has been able to deal with its past with dignity and can take its place on the road from past to future.

  1. PUBLIC CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The way state-run cultural institutions and infrastructures operate is outdated and inflexible, resulting in their lack of readiness for the digital era or low participatory attitude and ability to communicate with other sectors and areas of society.

1.1. Reform of cultural infrastructure
  • We want to undertake a fundamental reform of state and self-administered cultural infrastructure, which will cease to be directly established by the state and will operate in a separate public model that will allow for more efficient financing, management of public assets and public service tasks.

  • The reform includes a comprehensive audit of public cultural infrastructure, a change and unification of the statutes, governance and election mechanisms, the overall functioning and funding of public cultural institutions (transformation from contributory and budgetary to special public benefit status), revision of the physical infrastructure and adaptation of its functioning to the digital age.

  • We will also create a specific legislative statute allowing cultural organizations to be set up by several founders, which will be particularly relevant to the institutions that are today set up by self-governments.

  • We will ensure close and effective coordination of activities related to culture as a cross-section topic by the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic.

  1. WE WILL SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MEDIA AND QUALITY JOURNALISTS

The role of independent and trusted media in the protection of democracy and cohesion in society is increasing and changing as the digital reality progresses. Therefore, we will review and emphasize the role of the public service media and public information domains (RTVS and TASR) in the context of a post-factual society and ensure their adequate funding, independence and credibility. We will promote high-quality journalism and a modern media environment across the media spectrum.

2.1. Stronger public service media
  • We will strengthen independent, predictable, stable and multi-source public service media (RTVS) funding, increasing resources, with a particular focus on supporting investigative journalism.

  • We will increase the transparency and independence of the election of the director of RTVS.

2.2. Stricter regulation of owners
  • We will review the current legislation on cross-media ownership and adapt it to the reality of digital media, increasing the pressure for transparency in the publication of final media owners (public cector partners register).

  • We will introduce rules to prevent the emergence of a dominant position in the media sphere by one group of end-users, taking into account digital media.

2.3. Support for independent journalism
  • We will create a special grant and scholarship program for independent journalism (investigative, reporting journalism, media education programs).

  • We will strengthen the responsibilities of public authorities and public officials to answer the questions of journalists.

  • We will prevent unjustified actions against journalists, publishers, and investigative NGOs through the so-called special procedural condition where the court first examines the cause of the injury, and only if serious injury is found, it acts further.

  • We will include journalists into the category of protected persons in the Criminal Code so that attacks on them are judged more strictly.

2.4. Linguistic diversity in television broadcasting
  • We will support the expansion of broadcasting in minority languages ​​to the level of their share in the population. We will review legislation on mandatory translations and subtitling into Slovak for private regional broadcasters so as not to hinder the broadcasting of live programs in minority languages.

  • We will support the broadcasting of English programs with Slovak subtitles in RTVS.

  1. CULTURE FINANCING

Culture financing is currently inadequate, but in particular non-conceptual and often chaotic, in comparison with developed countries. Existing public funding mechanisms for the promotion of culture are isolated from each other, lacking a comprehensive multi-source funding system including public and private resources.

We therefore want to increase resources for existing functional mechanisms of cultural support (public funds), but also to create a legislative and legal environment that will allow for multi-source financing of culture and more efficient use of existing resources.

3.1. Private sponsorship
  • We will enact legislation that will allow private resources to finance culture through sponsorship contracts (cost inclusion, tax relief).

  • We will consider setting up a system of tax breaks for private investment in cultural infrastructure (the “refund” principle, similar to that of audiovisual).

3.2. Support for the development of cultural infrastructure
  • We will create a financial instrument that will allow easy access to resources supporting the development of local cultural infrastructure (restoration of cultural houses, libraries, community centers, etc.) – Live culture to every village.

3.3. Reform of art funds
  • We will review and reform the current model of functioning of art funds (Literary Fund, Music Fund, Art Fund), which collect 2% of copyright contracts in order to increase the transparency and efficiency of the tools to support creation.

  1. CREATIVE INDUSTRY

The area in which culture and creation enters into economic relations is an increasingly important component of the economy, with secondary effects on the development of creativity, innovation, social development and improving the quality of life.

Therefore, we will place creative industry among the priorities of Slovakia’s economic development and create a cross-section policy for its support, covering several areas of government (culture, education, economy, finance, foreign affairs, regional development).

4.1. Support from EU funds
  • We will evaluate the failure of the existing EU fund creative industry support scheme within the EU funds and in the new programming period 2021-2028 we will develop a scheme aimed at supporting the development of the existing creative industry infrastructure (coworkings, hubs, incubators, workshops, etc.), specific development and transformation projects framework measures for the development of the sector (support for export and internationalization, support for the activities of professional associations and groups).

4.2. Innovative tools
  • We will increasingly implement innovative fiscal instruments (e.g. an existing scheme to support film production) and tools to support the export and internationalization of creative industry products.

  1. EDUCATION AND ACCESS TO CULTURE

Culture is an essential part of a quality education process that cultivates an individual. At present, however, cultural, artistic and media education at all levels of the education system is minimal.

We want culture and media education to become part of the education system at all levels, so that cultural and media education will be one of the priorities of school reform.

5.1. New programmes and support
  • We will develop a programme of long-term partnerships between schools and professional cultural institutions to bring culture and the creative process into educational processes.

  • We will introduce a Cultural Passport – a voucher that will be given to every 15-year-old citizen on receipt of an ID card amounting to EUR 100-500 which can be used exclusively for cultural purposes (theatre, galleries, museums, concerts, books). We will consider introducing a similar program for pensioners.

  1. PROTECTION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

The protection of the cultural heritage in Slovakia is not sufficient, there is a lack of philosophy and the concept of prioritization in its protection, but in particular its connection with the current life and identity of the inhabitants of Slovakia. The existing resources are therefore not used efficiently. We want the cultural heritage to cease to be “only” the subject of protection, so the basic approach to it will be the interconnection of past, present and future through the integration of cultural heritage, communities and contemporary art and culture.

6.1. Tools for protection
  • We will link the protection of monuments with living culture and communities (in the protection of monuments there will be a primary new purpose of their use), we will create legislative tools that will ensure priority with the emphasis placed on the protection of the monument.

  • We will create a financial instrument supporting investment in the repair of cultural monuments from private sources if the monument is used for cultural and community purposes (e.g. percentage refunds of the amount invested).

  1. INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATION OF CULTURE

Foreign presentation of Slovakia and cultural diplomacy is significantly outdated (lack of modern understanding of culture and cultural diplomacy, inefficient management), there is a lack of coordinated modern branding of the country that would affect all components of external presentation. Culture is not an important and visible element of diplomacy and external relations.

We want Slovakia to be a country with a modern cultural identity that will become an integral part of the country’s branding and will play an important and key role in diplomatic activities in order to build the brand and increase Slovakia’s participation in important international diplomatic forums and missions.

7.1. Culture as an important element of external and foreign relations
  • Through various types of cultural and social themes and projects, we will create a new cultural diplomacy programe that will conceptually work with bilateral and multilateral relations of Slovakia abroad, build on common or problematic topics and create a new type of relationships aimed at greater cultural openness and conflict resolution.

7.2. Reform of Slovak Cultural Institutes
  • We will prepare a unified concept and brand of the Slovak Institute, which will include the exclusion of cultural institutes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its present form. Under this brand, we will create an independent public institution (state agency) with a board of directors, which will include foreign and cultural ministries and experts and personalities of cultural life. The cultural and diplomatic mission of this institution will be coordinated presentation of Slovakia abroad, international cultural networking, branding of Slovakia.

7.3. Branding of Slovakia
  • We will make refine the existing branding strategy of Slovakia (Good Idea Slovakia) functional, review and supplement it in order to move Slovakia in the existing Nation Brand indexes.

  • We will create a coordinated strategy for the presentation of Slovakia as a modern country, which will include not only programmes and presentation activities, but also equipment and appearance of the premises of Slovak embassies (redesign with elements of Slovak design) or design and communication in digital space.

  1. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE CHURCH

At present, churches still operate under a regime dating back to the communist era, which was created as a tool for controlling their activities. This interdependent relationship between churches and the state hampers them in independent development and bringing spiritual and moral values ​​into public debate within a pluralistic civil society.

We want to fulfill the unfulfilled request of the November 1989 Velvet Revolution and initiate a process leading to a new framework of state-church relationship that would open the way to greater financial independence from state power, strengthen religious freedom and emphasize the role of churches and religious societies in a pluralistic society.

8.1. Social dialogue
  • Iniciujeme spoločenskú debatu o dôležitosti úlohy cirkví a náboženských spoločností v kontexte postfaktuálnej doby a zvyšujúcej sa potreby ochrany demokracie a právneho štátu.

  • We are initiating a social debate on the importance of the role of churches and religious groups in the context of the post-factual era and the increasing need to protect democracy and the rule of law.

  1. COUNTRY FOR ALL (NATIONAL MINORITIES)

Slovakia belongs to all its inhabitants. Equality of individual ethnicities is also reflected in the possibility to use one’s own language or create ethnically specific cultural expressions. The culture of minority communities has for centuries been an integral part of the culture of a country whose cultural heritage is mainly in the diversity of its cultures.

Current state policies on minority cultures and languages ​​have many times led to a loss of identity and culture of minority communities. Our aim is to develop the culture of minorities to a greater extent than has been the case so far, taking into account the cultural and historical specifics of individual ethnic minorities and their specific needs. 

We consider language and traditions to be the cornerstone of minority culture. We want to strengthen the protection and respect of the majority against these cultural expressions of minorities, but above all to support the relationship and dialogue of the majority and minorities, which will lead to lasting mutual communication and symbiosis and not to assimilation.

9.1. Status of minority communities
  • The key to a new approach to ethnic minorities will be in particular the differentiation of access to individual minorities given by their history, cultural-social context and size. The aim is to abandon existing policies which, by levelling access to minorities, are losing their responsiveness and effectiveness and to develop specific policies for minorities in nationally mixed territories and minorities with the character of minor cultural enclaves.

  • We will initiate a law on the status of minority communities that defines communities, their fundamental rights, national symbols, ways of participation in public life and characterizes differentiated attitudes towards individual minorities.

  • Special attention will also be paid to the social aspects of the Roma ethnicity, with the aim of eliminating the exclusion of ethnic communities in the field of culture and language.

9.2. We support bilingualism
  • In the area of ​​language policy, we will review the Act on State Language, especially as regards prohibitions and sanctions against the use of other than state language.

  • We support the consistent introduction of bilingual public signs and the improvement of the quality and availability of public services in minority languages ​​in ethnically mixed territories.

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