Zeljko Blace on Thu, 25 Mar 2004 06:33:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> * state support for media culture in Croatia in disfavor with recently appointed right government

Dear friends and colleagues,

on behalf of the Multimedia Institute (Zagreb, CROATIA)
I would like to inform you of the decision made by the recently appointed
right government and minister of Culture - Bozo Biskupic, to terminate
Council for Media Culture and reduce the remaining councils to the role of
advise giving bodies.

Croatia never developed institutional frameworks for the development of
media culture - though historically it represented an important part of the
cultural field in the late 60ties and 70ties (both  locally and internationally), and as of
late 90ties took up again an active role in the international networks and
co-productions mostly through a number of non-governmental organizations
(such as Multimedia Institute), networks (CLUBTURE) and individuals.

In 2001 the Council for Media Culture was appointed by the Ministry of
Culture in order to deal with cross-field or new media programs, with numerous programs
from the urban/youth culture and so called "alternative" culture (mostly
non-institutional and marginalized cultural and art practices from various fields that were
never included into the mainstream cultural institutions). In recent years a great number
of activities in these marginalized fields succeeded to establish themselves both
locally and internationally, while developing an independent
infrastructure and networks for sustainable growth.

All of these activities and organizations will now be in stressful
situation to depend exclusively on local authorities and councils that are mostly focused on
traditional art forms.

Though the work of Council for Media Culture was at times problematic
(particularily as concerns its focus and its efficiency) - something that
Mr Biskupic uses in his argument -, rather than dealing with the specific
issues of independent culture, he wants to terminate its representation
and its presence altogether and claim his authority over the distribution
of funding for culture.

press quote : http://www.vecernji-list.hr/2004/03/19/Pages/KUL-NAJ.html

Government is cutting down on the number of cultural councils and the
number of seats in them

*Minister [of culture] Biskupic is no longer obliged to listen to

Council for Urban Planning and Architecture and Councul for Media
Culture are being terminated

ZAGREB - Cultural councils will no longer decide on where the state
money for culture goes! Biskupic's reform of [former minister] Vujic's
concept of governing the culture has passed the first hurdle - the
Government. Now the draft of Cultural Councils Legislation can go into
the first reading in the Croatian Parliament. Biskupic wants to
terminate the Council for Urban Planning and Architecture and Councul
for Media Culture, and he is introducing a Council for International
Cultural Cooperation and European Integrations.

Number of seats in a council is being cut down from seven to five.
Councils will no longer be appointed by the Government, but rather by
the Minister himself. And most importantly, so far councils were giving
their opinion on the program of public needs in the culture for the year
and on the financial support the Ministry would allocate to programs.
The Minister was obliged to take into consideration these opinions, and
in case of disregarding them, he had to give a written explanation of
the reasons for doing so. Now the Councils should be in charge of
proposing cultural policies and measures for their implementation, and
making strategic decisions by helping decide how money should be
allocated. However, if he decides to disregard councils' proposals and
expertise, he's no longer obliged to provide an explanation to anyone.
Councils will be also established for individual counties, the city of
Zagreb and all townships with population over 40,000.

Minister decides when the National Council for Culture as an advisory
entity should convene. In the elaboration of the proposal of Cultural
Councils Legislation it is stated that Vujic's [Cultural Councils]
Legislation during two years of its implementation demonstrated
deficiencies and inconsistencies. It is also stated that the mechanism
of appointing council members was too demanding, that the Council for
Media Culture failed to profile its activity, and that the National
Council for Culture failed to pass a national cultural program, and
convened no more than once.

The new legislation also means that mandates of all current council
members appointed by Antun Vujic to two or four years are being revoked.

Denis Derk

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