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.
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