Saturday, 16 October 2021

Croatian Book Month Kicks Off in City Library in Požega

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek formally opened this year's Croatian Book Month in the renovated and updated city library in the town of Požega on Friday.

In 2021, the Croatian Book Month, which takes place across Croatia from 15 October to 15 November, includes 218 participants and over 1,600 programmes. Most of the participants are school libraries and libraries in the local communities as well as museums, publishing companies and associations.

The main programme is the online national quiz to encourage reading, which is being held under the slogan "Six Authors Seek a Reader".

During the ceremony in Požega, Minister Obuljen Koržinek recalled that this year, 100 million kuna (€13.3 million) was allocated for book and reading promotion. The outlays for this purpose are being distributed to all those who participate in the chain of making a book and for reading encouragement.

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Saturday, 18 September 2021

51st Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival Begins

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - The 51st Varaždin Baroque Evenings festival began in Varaždin on Friday with a concert by the Slovenian Baroque Orchestra musica cubicularis, performed in the city cathedral.

This year's partner country is Slovenia. The festival, closing on 29 September, will feature 33 concerts and 11 accompanying events under the title Total Baroque.

In her address at the opening ceremony, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said she was pleased that Slovenia was the partner country this year because, like Croatia, it nurtured the tradition of performing Baroque music on original instruments.

She said many valuable projects had been launched and completed in the City of Varaždin and Varaždin County over the past five years, including the relocation of the city library and the reconstruction of the city theatre's concert hall.

"We have also been talking about a new financial envelope and possibilities of utilising some very valuable heritage localities in the county for tourism," the minister said.

The festival is being held under the auspices of President Zoran Milanović, whose envoy at the opening was his culture advisor Zdravko Zima.

"I think it's high time that we who are here in Southeast Europe and who live in this part of the world stop building walls and start building bridges," he said, adding that culture, the natural link between Slovenian and Croatian musicians, was such a bridge.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

AEPO-ARTIS: Croatia Making Position of Performing Artists Difficult

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - AEPO-ARTIS, a non-profit organisation that represents over 650 performing artists, has sent a letter to the Croatian culture minister criticising Croatia for being late with the adoption of new copyright legislation and missing a deadline for the implementation of two EU directives, the Croatian Musicians Union said on Tuesday.

The organisation said that the implementation of the Copyright Directive and the Directive on online transmissions and retransmissions was being delayed because Croatia was late with the adoption of the new Copyright and Related Rights Act.

The letter, signed by AEPO-ARTIS secretary general Ioan Kaes, says that the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap between the growth of profit by online giants and individual artists because the latter do not participate in the fair distribution of this turnover.

The situation is particularly dramatic because in the new business circumstances the turnover of online platforms has become a dominant source of income for the music industry. For over a year and a half, performing artists have been denied their basic source of income - live performances, while at the same time the use and turnover of their recordings increased and performers could not enjoy their rights equally with others. Although their works still reach wide online audiences, artists receive small or no remuneration for them, according to the letter.

The institute of performers' inalienable right to remuneration is not incorporated into the proposal for the new Copyright and Related Rights Act, and under the proposal, record companies would be given an additional three years to adjust their business. This would allow Croatian record companies to continue their unfair and unethical practice of blackmailing performing artists and not paying them for the performances that have been used by online services for years, the letter said.

AEPO-ARTIS concluded by saying that introducing the inalienable right to remuneration, which artists would be able to exercise through their collective management organisations, is the best, if not the only, solution that guarantees that artists receive appropriate and proportionate remuneration for their work.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Rapid Antigen Tests for Concerts Will Be Co-financed by Ministry of Culture

July 18, 2021 - The music festival and concert industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and in order to help the organizers, the Ministry of Culture has decided to co-finance rapid antigen tests in cooperation with the Croatian Music Union.

According to Goran Rihelj from HrTurizam.hr, the Ministry of Culture has decided that, in cooperation with the Croatian Music Union (HGU), it will co-finance the costs of rapid antigen tests with HRK 5,000,000 for the purpose of conducting concert activities of interest to the Republic of Croatia. The profession welcomes such measures and says it will continue to work on business models that preserve health and the economy.

"Due to the new conditions of the event, paying for tests for visitors is a new cost that sometimes spills over to visitors, and sometimes to the organizers. Therefore, the help of co-financing rapid antigen tests announced by the Ministry of Culture is more than welcome ", said the President of the HGK Event Industry Association Boris Kovaček, adding that the industry expects further work on ways to safely implement events.

Tomo in der Mühlen, president of the Association of Creative and Cultural Industries of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, agrees, saying that entrepreneurs in the industry support all aid measures because it is extremely important that the event industry works. "We must constantly work on improving the models according to which we can better organize controlled events. That's the only way. Otherwise, if we do not develop a model of how we can do this and disable work, we will end up in a situation where some exceptions, where the organizers do not respect the measures, become more common, and no one in the industry wants that, events are a great motivation and incentive for young people to be vaccinated.

The ministry defined concert programs of interest to the Republic of Croatia as those with more than half the participation of Croatian performers, continuous and confirmed presence in the cultural life of the country, high level of quality, intended for different age profiles of the audience. Co-financing is carried out in the form of grants, up to 50 kuna per conducted antigen test of visitors.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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Thursday, 13 May 2021

Croatian Poet Criticises Petition Against Culture Ministry's Tender for Support

May the 14th, 2021 - As the new public tender by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media was met with the outrage by writers community, a Croatian poet ranting about writers ranting about the culture ministry is quite the turn of events. TCN reporter and slam poet Ivor Kruljac approves but also debates parts of the petition launched against the aforementioned ministry.

The ever-unfortunate literary scene in Croatia, which is sadly not represented as it should be neither in Croatia nor abroad, took heavy blows as a result of the coronavirus pandemic - much like the majority of other sectors. Popular literary events such as Interliber, and many more fairs ended up being cancelled, the blow to this specific branch of cultural industry that generally receives poor investments and poor profits thus became even more challenging.

To jump to the rescue, The Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media issued a public tender for both writers and translators. As Jutarnji list reported, the tender for the provision of financial aid to authors and translators for the best books and translations in 2019/2020 introduced a little novelty along with it.

''With the commissional value of the books, which in previous editions [of such tenders] was the only criterium of assigning financial support, this new tender also has a numerical valuing of literal works“, reported Jutarnji.

This numerical valuing is assessed by the number of awards, the level of participation in literal manifestations and festivals, and critical responses.

''Forty points goes to the winners of the awards: Janko Polić Kamov, Fric, Ksaver Šandor Gjalski, Edo Budiša, Vladimir Nazor, Kvirin, Judita etc. While rewards such as Post Scriptum, going to Fran Galović, Sfera, Tea Rimay Benčić etc, are worth only half of those points. Fifteen points can be received by participating in some festivals and manifestations, while the lower rank of such events is worth ten points. Ten points are also added for reviews in certain media while for others (this sometimes includes expert magazines), the critical review is worth only seven or four points,'' wrote Jutarnji List.

The literary community rebelled, and they started a petition called "The Right to Quality" against these propositions, demanding for the tender to be cancelled, which is supported at the time of writing this article with 233 signatures of Croatian writers and other concerned citizens.

''Public funding support for the best work has significant importance for the number of authors, which is why the authors themselves fought for the existence of this type of support with the initiative ''The Right to a Profession'', reads the text of the petition. The petition also welcomed the description of the criteria to improve transparency but determines that the quantification of literary value, which is a qualitative category in itself, ''disables the authors of a high aesthetic value to get the support their work truly deserves.''

Additionally, playwriters aren't even mentioned in this tender (despite grading rewards which are reserved for playwrites, poets, and essay writers, who are also in a bad position), and the winners of some of these awards will be known only after the ministry's tender closes.  

The Culture Ministry could make many, many improvements, but, having the (mis)fortune of being present on the writing and more particularly, the poetry scene for the last six years (publishing and performing at various events, publishing short stories, and for better or worse, even being covered by the media for my work) I can't say, as a Croatian poet, that the arguments are really on the side of the writer's community either.

Here are several arguments regarding to petition (in bold), as well as counter-arguments (not in bold) from the most annoying Croatian poet in the country. I have no doubt my other colleagues will most likely hate me for it, but you, the reader, are free decide what seems to have more sense. Given the fact that Croatia is a democracy, the pluralism of opinions and civilised public debate is always welcome. Despite the fact that I will not sign the petition, you should sign it yourself if you feel it to be the right thing.

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Assigning the funds by the number of sold copies of books borrowed in libraries is problematic as it's not showing the work's actual quality. Readership is affected by various factors, which don't always come because of a book's quality, but from the previous visibility of the author and the budget the publisher has.

Well, how exactly do we determine the value of literary work? I'm no literature academic, and literary academics don't really communicate these ''legitimate criteria that makes a good book'' all that well. Additionally, these books which are labelled as being good, are so boring to the average reader, and then the reader often gets insulted by ''the intellectuals'' for reading such garbage. When you look at other arts, such as music, you can see that music academics favour some music over other types but then again, some music, known as pop, is made for common people and the artists don't focus on achieving some melodic masterpiece but rather to entertain their audience or send a brief message.

Why do writers who do the same get so ridiculed by academic circles?

Why are they ignored by Croatian publishers? Why do writers then insult the readers, making literature more repulsive to the audience, and then get shocked when there isn't a lot of reading done and consequently not much money to be had from the book business? This also makes the Croatian literary offer very poor, and often its style and topics end up being very similar as a result of this unexplained criteria. In return, there's very little Croatian crime fiction, SF, fantasy, love stories, and other genres, and the readers turn to foreign writers in search of such stories (Jo Nesbo, Stephanie Meyer, J.K Rowling. Lois McMaster Bujold and many, many more). Such writing makes them popular and also visible. That's the answer as to whose work gets most bought and borrowed in Croatia, give them the cash!

Poets are at a disadvantage from the very beginning. There are far fewer rewards for poetry than there are for prose, which means the poets can do nothing else but achieve fewer points. There's also less poetry writing in general, which means a lower amount of points coming from critical reviews. Child authors, essay writers, and comic book artists are in a worse position than poets as well.  

The above gets right to the heart of the point from the perspective of a Croatian poet. But, why is it like that, exactly? Before the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm, there were so many poetry events filled with poets performing and the audience coming to watch them perform. Be it slam poetry, open mics, or some other poetry events, be it in the libraries, bars, or clubs, it was apparent that Croatia doesn't lack poets, nor does it lack an audience for it. These events were in the majority and were always very open to newcomers.

Social media is also filled with people, either quoting their favourite poets or posting their own, personal poetry. So, why are there no more rewards and why is there not more extensive interest from the publishers (with some honorable exceptions) to invest in poetry and keep up with the trends? Culture journalists working for various media outlets should focus more on poetry as well, and coming from TCN's perspective, poetry articles really do attract an audience, as we saw on March the 21st (assuming that reporting on poetry, an important artistic and historical heritage of the linguistic form, isn't rewarding enough in itself).

Evaluating work by the number of reviews is problematic as books that are more visible, in principle, receive more reviews. The authors whose books are published by smaller editors, who have fewer resources to invest in their promotion, are in a less favourable position. In addition, evaluating the number of reviews where three negatives are worth more than two positives is also illogical in order to evaluate the quality of a piece of work.

On top of that still, the amount of points based on the media site on which the critic is published seems to be very random. The result is the unusual circumstance in which, if the same critic writes two reviews of two different books and publishes them on two different sites, depending on where the critic published the review, one writer will receive 10 points, and the other one four even if the first review was positive, and the other one - negative.    

Again, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there's no empirical way to determine which book is a good book and which isn't. If there were such a righteous empirical way of determining the quality of a book, we wouldn't have the difference between positive and negative reviews. Bad would always be bad, and good would always be good, and there wouldn't be any debates.

Take a look at the empirical field of physics and the definition of friction; ''Friction is a force between two surfaces that are sliding, or trying to slide, across each other“. This definition will always be the correct definition regardless of culture, personal preferences etc. Furthermore, positive reviews, even if done correctly by the rules of the still ''unclear criteria of literature scholars“, that wouldn't be set in stone.

When the poetry volume ''The Flowers of Evil“ by Charles Baudelaire was originally published back in 1857, the academics of the time condemned it as immoral and wrong, and of a poor quality, but today it is celebrated by the successors of that same academia, as one of the best poetry books ever. So, no writer should even care if the reviews are good or bad in terms of quality. That being said, reviews will raise a publication's visibility, attract readership, and inspire critics to write more reviews (combined with the PR done by the publisher). All of this shows the writer's ability to spark a reaction with their work. As such, whether a review is good or bad is irrelevant, but reviews do show the impact and public importance of the book, and therefore it seems to be quite the right direction to go in assessing books by the ministry.

That being said, the tender benefiting the publishing of one review in one media outlet over another is problematic if it doesn't better elaborate why some media outlets are favoured over others in the tender.

Furthermore, big publishers publish more books in larger quantities, and invest more in their promotion, and they already have a name that attracts the press. That is absolutely true. But, today, with the development of social media (which allows promotion without high expenses), and while journalists strive to discover new things, new names, new approaches - small publishers have never before been in a better position to push themselves and the writers they represent out into the public arena and develop and expand to the level of ''big players“. The only question is - do they have the will to do it?

It's not adequate that the esthetical value of a book is evaluated by attending events and manifestations. Festivals more often call upon already established authors who then have an unfair advantage. Additionally, every organiser mostly invites his own authors who again have an advantage over the others. The tender doesn't value international festivals, which causes a paradoxical situation in which the promotion in the organisation of the publisher is evaluated, but it's not evaluated when the promotion happens during an established international festival.

The term ''the presenting of the book“ is problematic for multiple reasons. First and foremost, the majority of these festivals don't present the book (and its a problem to prove that by participating in these festivals, the book was actually presented). Last, but not least – this is discriminatory towards authors of a weaker state of health, who are older (with the risk of the novel coronavirus still large) or busy with family and work obligations and are unable to travel.

Festival organisers do discriminate against writers, but whose fault is that exactly? Are these festivals organised by the Republic of Croatia, by the Ministry of Culture? If they are, then it's problematic, but if these festivals aren't organised by the ministry, then this whole petition is barking up the wrong tree. If the festival organisers aren't willing to be more fair and open to new names, then we, the writers, need to show solidarity with our colleagues and negotiate with festival organisers to invite our colleagues who are less presented to participate. If you're a writer/publisher seriously concerned with this issue, but you're among the lucky ones who get invited, use your position to help others out a little.

On the other hand, it's too bad international festivals aren't valued in the tender, and the ministry should work more in helping Croatian writers become more visible on the international scene. Regarding ''vulnerable writers, the old, the sick, and those too pre-occupied to attend'', they should be presented by their publishers, and an additional problem is that often the expenses of travelling to festivals aren't covered for the writer, and their participation costs money.

Awards such as the VBZ award, the Dragutin Tadijanović award assigned by (HAZU) etc aren't mentioned in the tender. Relevant international awards Croatian authors frequently are awarded, such as the Bridges of Struga (Macedonian award), the European Union Literature Award, the European Poet of Freedom, etc, are also ignored.

Every single award, be it Croatian, European or international, should be valued in the tender, but VBZ really shouldn't be. For those who don't know, the VBZ award is the annual award for the best-unpublished novel, and the winner sees their manuscript published, and there is a financial 100,000 kuna prize that goes with it too. With a huge monetary prize and the chance to have that piece of work published, why would VBZ be part of a tender whose goal is to financially help those writers who have run out of money?

The bigger problem is the question of how fair are these awards in the first place. Are they transparent? Are there no biases from the judges appointing these awards? Interestingly enough, there used to be an award called ''Kiklop'', which was given to the most purchased book in Croatia, but was cancelled in 2009 because the winning book by Nives Celzijus (about what's it like to be the wife of a Dinamo footballer) was considered by writing community to ''not be intellectual enough''. When in reality, for a book that can appeal so much to the Croatian readership, in a country that doesn't read much, such rewards should still be respected.

The final item of the tender that tries to consider the books that went unnoticed isn't going to accomplish too much. From the whole tender, it's visible that the emphasis is being placed on the work that received the most media attention and follows the old principle - The more attention something gets, even if it isn't good attention - the better.

Again, books should be visible to the public, and visibility should be awarded. The majority of publishers seem to see the distribution of a writer's work as their only job, and then they're surprised when despite distribution, the books just sit there not being snapped up by eager readers. Knock on doors, contact people, contact the press, everyone. Prepare a decent press release. Scream from the rooftops that you published a book from the top of your lungs and afford your writer the attention their work deserves. With the aforementioned development of social media, there's truly no excuse to be lagging in that respect today. Then, you'll get the media attention, and half of this tender would not be problematic at all. The problem is the policy of publisher's work and not the criteria by the ministry for this particular item.  

Overall, the Ministry isn't without sin in this saga, but the Croatian writing community (particularly publishers, and event organisers) also needs to act differently to benefit the writers themselves, especially the new generations (and poets, stop forgetting the poets!).

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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians - Scientific Conference by Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute

May 12, 2021 - Earlier in May, Boka Kotorska, in the town of Tivat in Montenegro, was the host of the scientific conference "Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians" which will introduce changes in Croatian education.

Croatia has a big diaspora, no secrets there, but its worldwide spread makes you miss the region.

In Boka Kotorska, in Montenegro, Croatia's first neighbor on the southern border after Dubrovnik, not only is there a huge population of Croatians, but they also have a significant cultural impact on the area. So significant it even calls for social science to step in.

As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute reported on its website, May 6 to 9 saw the conference “Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians“. The three-day conference gathered crucial scientific institutes in Croatia to the town of Tivat in the Bay of Croatian Saints. Headed with Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, Croatian Catholic University, Croatian Studies Faculty, Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics as well as Institute for Historical Sciences in Zadar attended the conference while Croatian ministries of European, and Foreign Affairs, Science and Education, Culture, and Media, as well as Croatian Central State Office for Croatians Outside of the Republic of Croatia, founded the event.

„The scientific conference went well as well as signing conclusions with recommendations that that knowledge on Bokelj Croatians we learned on this conference enter the Croatian national curriculum in important subjects. These conclusions are the crown of our efforts to launch this conference in public, not just in an academical way, but to massively popularize to ensure long-term benefits for Bokelj Croatians as for every educated citizen of Croatia and Montenegro“, said Dr. Željko Holjevac, head of the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Conference conclusions suggest additions to the curriculum documents on key definitions of Croatian National Identity to make space for Croatians outside Croatia, including Boka Kotorska Croatians. Identity features and creativity of Bokelj Croatians in Croatian education, and the book „Boka Kotorska - the Bay of the Saints and Croatian Culture“, by Vanda Babić to be the mandatory literature for tourist guides in Montenegro.
Final meetings at the conference, as well as sailing with a „Katica“ ship through Boka Kotorska Bay, Saw the participation of Boris Bastijančić, the advisor and representative of the Montenegro president and representer of Croatian parliament and MP, Zdravka Bušić, and others.

„I'm glad to be at this scientific conference, and I want to thank everyone's effort for something like this to happen in Boka Kotorska. I would especially like to thank students that took part in this and gave their part as young people who love the truth of Boka, the place of saints. This is a message that we too need to do something to mark this time with love, hope, and faith“, said the Kotorska bishop, mons. Ivan Štironja.

Some Croatians live outside of Croatia, but maybe you would want to live in Croatia. Learn more about living in Croatia on our TC page

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Sunday, 3 May 2020

Culture Ministry: Media Freedom Is Foundation of Every Democracy

ZAGREB, May 3, 2020 - On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, observed on 3 May, Croatia's culture ministry underscored the importance of freedom of media as a pillar of each democratic society which is supposed to provide conditions for unobstructed and safe work of journalists.

This year, World Press Freedom Day, is marked in specific circumstances in which we evaluate in a particular way the role of media in the society, the ministry said in a press release on Sunday.

Accurate, true and timely reporting in accordance with the media freedoms in times of crisis represents a pillar for each individual and for the whole society, the ministry said.

Without the role of independent and free media in checking the information and without trust which the general public has in the media system, one cannot imagine the prevention of dissemination of fake news and disinformation in the world full of easy to access information, the source of which is unknown, said the ministry.

Unfortunately, media outlets are hard hit by the consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore the ministry will undertake additional measures to provide support to reporters, and publishers.

The ministry recalls on its web site that on 17 March, Croatia's government adopted a series of measures to assist the cultural sector in order to minimise the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are aware that the crisis has affected all levels of society – economic as cultural, public as private, so by various measures we try to cover all segments of the cultural sector, emphasizing above all the spirit of solidarity and community as the foundation of a just and democratic society," Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek was quoted as saying.

"The measures are intended to cover all artists and cultural workers who, in these moments of crisis which full reach is difficult to predict, lose their ability to act, and whose social and economic status is fundamentally threatened. We want to ease the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but also the recent earthquake that has additionally threatened the cultural and artistic field, one of the most vulnerable segments of the society,” said the minister.

More journalism news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Fair Compensation for Online Art Must Be Provided

ZAGREB, April 16, 2020 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has alerted the international cultural and creative industries community of the vulnerable status of freelance artists in the current crisis caused by the coronavirus, saying that new applications will be invited for grants to artists sharing their art online.

The Croatian minister on Wednesday participated in the first in a series of virtual debates organised jointly by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and UNESCO with the aim of bringing artists and governments together to discuss ways of facing the consequences of the coronavirus crisis in the cultural and creative sectors.

"We have raised some issues concerning the vulnerability of artists' status, the need for copyright protection, as well as... possible alternative ways to distribute and take part in culture while the restrictive measures are in force, but also how we will return to making art and participating in it after the measures are relaxed," she said after the discussion.

Obuljen Koržinek said that none of the stakeholders in the culture sector were ready for the current crisis but noted that there was a big difference between countries that have developed culture policies and those that have no support systems for artists and culture. She noted that even countries with a long tradition of developed culture policies, like Croatia, recognised numerous weaknesses in their culture systems.

The minister especially referred to the vulnerability of freelance artists, stating that the most difficult problem at the moment was finding a way to help them.

All cultural events with large audiences will probably be restricted for quite a while, and all activities which were encouraged up to now, such as mobility, co-production, or artist exchanges, are impossible at the moment, and it is uncertain when the situation will normalise, she said.

Therefore, she underlined the great responsibility of governments, especially ministers in charge of culture, to adopt measures supporting artists who are unable to do their job due to the new circumstances.

Obuljen Koržinek also raised the question of the importance of improving the copyright system, especially at a time when public gatherings are banned and authors are sharing their work and cultural content free of charge.

The minister thanked all artists who share their artwork for free thus helping citizens to deal with the current situation better, and supported those who advocate for a fair compensation to all artists, authors and performers, in the digital environment.

The Croatian Culture Ministry is working on a new, ad hoc invitation for applications for support to provide at least some kind of compensation to those who share their cultural content online, the minister said.

This is the first time such a model is being made and additional time will be necessary to implement it, the minister said, adding that they needed to be certain that the measure will really help those who need it the most.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 10 April 2020

EU Culture Ministers Talk Measures Designed to Alleviate Impact of Coronavirus Crisis

ZAGREB, April 10, 2020 - EU culture ministers have held an informal video conference on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the cultural and creative sector and exchanged experience on the steps undertaken by their governments to fight the pandemic as well as proposals for action at the EU level.

The video conference, held at the proposal of Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, was attended by EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

Obuljen Koržinek said the debate showed that all member-countries had taken action to help artists, cultural institutions and companies in the cultural and creative industries in the current crisis when cultural projects are being cancelled or postponed.

She said the participants in the meeting also discussed the public's consumption of cultural content on various online platforms.

Commissioner Jourova said that the response to the crisis should be comprehensive and emphasised the importance of the media sector, professional work of journalists and the responsibility of the media to prevent fake news and disinformation.

Commissioner Breton spoke of the measures that had been introduced on the internal market and underlined the importance of media and the audio-visual industry, while Gabriel presented activities launched by European associations, member states and the European Commission in the cultural and creative sectors to minimise the negative consequences of the pandemic for citizens.

The meeting particularly underlined the need for a flexible approach to the beneficiaries of the Creative Europe programme.

The video conference was held on April 8 and the ministers will continue their discussion at the Council of the Ministers of Culture on May 19.

More news about coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Artists, Freelancers Call for Help to Cope with Coronavirus Crisis

ZAGREB, March 15, 2020 - Over 1,300 cultural workers, most of whom are freelancers or independent authors in creative industries have to date signed an appeal for urgent assistance which they need to overcome the current situation caused by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Concerts and other cultural events are continually being cancelled or postponed in the country due to the outbreak of the virus, and such developments affect creative industries, notably freelancers and precariously employed professionals in that sector.

The appeal emphasises that in addition to a public health risk due to the spread of coronavirus, independent cultural workers are losing their livelihoods in the current situation.

The signatories also warn that although the situation concerning the public health can go back to normal until the end of April, the crisis in this cultural sector is likely to last until the autumn.

An additional problem is that a part of the sector has not yet recovered from the consequences of the teachers' strike in schools last autumn, when the distribution of contents for school children was also impossible, reads the appeal.

The signatories support a pan-European appeal for establishment of a fund for assistance to individual artists and art organisations in a bid to overcome this period marked by bans on public gatherings and cancellations of events.

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has already promised that she will see to it that the government's measures to prop up businesses also include assistance for artists and creative industries to pass through this period as less painfully as possible.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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