Minister of Culture Liana Ruokytė – Jonsson: “Cohesive Society is Based on Strong Local Community”

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2017 11 21

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The role of culture in building cohesive societies in Europe was discussed during the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Culture of the European Union held in Brussels. Ministers were invited to speak on how cultural policies could contribute while strengthening the cohesiveness, sociality and citizenship of societies and while solving actual social problems.

In her report, the Minister of Culture Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson emphasised the role of culture and cultural heritage in forming civic self-awareness, reducing social and regional exclusion, increasing the accessibility of culture for various social groups, strengthening local communities through the use of culture, and reinforcing the feeling of belonging to own cultural space. The Minister stressed that a cohesive society is based on a strong local community, therefore, it requires proper attention while planning investment of respective amount and activity directions that would be focused not only on the improvement of infrastructure but also on the use of infrastructure while implementing initiatives of communities.

Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson presented to ministers of culture of the EU the experience of Lithuania while implementing such projects of cultural heritage actualisation and application for public needs as Pakruojis and Burbiškis Manors and their surroundings revitalised with the help of the EU structural funds. Tourism infrastructure based on heritage traditions, new jobs have been created here, and local community has been involved into these activities.

During the meeting, the EU ministers of culture also approved of the Council conclusions on the promotion of culture accessibility through digital means giving the most of attention to the formation of the audience. It is highlighted in the conclusions that digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way cultural content is created, accessed and used. The behaviour and expectations of the audience are changing while using digital technologies; as a result, cultural organisations should change their organisational attitude, react to ongoing digital changes and use the possibilities of digital technologies at most by ensuring the accessibility of cultural content to various groups of audience, including the ones with special needs, experiencing social exclusion, they should also interest and attract new users. The conclusions invite to use technologies for collecting data on the habits of culture consumers and to use them in culture policy making; also, they incite to continue developing cultural content digitization activities.

During the meeting the Minister of Culture of Lithuania also spoke on the progress of revision of the Directive on Audiovisual Media Services, in which the most topical question for Lithuania was to ensure the possibility of applying the “urgent procedure” for restricting audiovisual services so that decisions on the limitation of audiovisual services could be taken immediately, after the first violation already, in cases of very serious infringements of audiovisual content according to the public safety criterion.