Adoption of the Law on Culture in 2012
Adopted and signed by the President in Azerbaijan in 2012, this law replaced the old “Law on culture” of 1998. The Law on culture has been a result of large-scale consultation process undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan from January 2010 to September 2012, which involved consultation meetings with government stakeholders, Members of the Milli Mejlis Parliament and especially the Culture Committee, as well as non-governmental organizations, individual creators, universities, experts, researchers and academics. The law has made an ambitious attempt to address the whole diversity of issues related to protection, promotion and safeguarding culture and heritage in the whole diversity of issues that need to be considered at larger policy level in Azerbaijan. The Law made it clear that the national cultural policy is based on the principles of equal opportunities to create and use cultural values and to preserve the heritage (both tangible and intangible) in Azerbaijan. This cultural policy aims to give the right to every person to create, use and disseminate cultural values, irrespective of her or his social and material status, nationality, race, religion and gender. The Law aimed to guarantee freedom of intellectual and creative expression and to provide a legal basis for the development of national culture as a constituent part of world culture. The law also put an ambitious objective to create enabling environment to support development of cultural industries through investments in these area. This means that the government aims to explore opportunities to reduce barriers to investments in creative industries, such as architecture, arts, crafts, design, fashion, film making, music, performing arts and publishing, as well as to use any opportunity to attract internal and external investments in the development of these areas. The Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan and the Culture Committee of the Parliament undertake regular monitoring of the implementation of the Law.
The Law defines culture as a set of features that determine the material, moral, intellectual and emotional specificities of society or social groups, embrace people’s way of life, criteria of their cohabitation, as well as the system of moral values, including literature and art.
Compared to the previous law, the new law included 26 new concepts that were put forward into line with the requirements and principles of international conventions, including the 2005 Convention. The law focuses especially on ‘creative persons’ and outlines the ways of state support to them. Creative persons, who have special services in the development, promotion and promotion of culture are awarded with honorary titles, scholarships and prizes by the relevant executive authority. The relevant executive authorities are supposed to keep databases of biography, professional and creative activities of cultural workers, creative persons and creative groups, who are involved in the development of culture.
Under its Article 9, the law for the first time introduced the term “freedom of creativity”, which reconfirms that any person has the right to engage in any creative activity on the basis of professional and amateur creativity in accordance with his / her interests and abilities. The results of creativity of individuals are protected by the laws of the country on copyright and related rights. Creative individuals have the right to sell, present and transfer to the foreign countries the results of their creativity.
The Law under its Article 14 emphasizes that the state guarantees the right of use of cultural institutions and cultural resources in Azerbaijan. It therefore is entitled to undertake investment projects to support development of cultural industries and create enabling environment for such investments.
The law also reflected the issues of state monitoring in the field of culture, material and social security of creative individuals.
The text of the law is available in Azerbaijani using the following link: https://www.president.az/articles/7392
The law provided a multi-dimensional and encompassing policy framework for the field of culture with the focus on heritage (tangible and intangible), artistic expressions, as well as cultural industries. It determined the whole variety of roles that were attributed to different actors involved in the field of culture, such as government agencies and primarily the Ministry of Culture on one side, and creative individuals, private companies, entrepreneurs, investors and non-governmental organizations on the other. The most important expected results of the Law were improving legislative basis for the field of culture, ensuring efficient management in the field of culture, creating favourable environment for development of culture in all its spheres, strengthening conditions for developing partnerships, as well as enhancing legal protection of intellectual property rights of creators.
Since the adoption of the law, a numerous consultations have been provided by the Government in the capital city Baku and different regions of the country, such as in Siyazan, Ujar, Khizi, and Samukh regions in 2014. These consultations enabled to ensure better understanding of the provisions of the law by various stakeholders, but also allowed for development of new partnerships and networking at local level. In 2015, a working group was sent to Dashkesen, Gadabay and Goranboy regions to conduct further trainings on the implementation of the Law by regional departments of culture and tourism. Regular meetings are undertaken by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan and the Culture Committee of the Parliament for monitoring of the implementation of the Law.
145 000 USD per year