No resolution on funding cultural NGOs

Ljubljana – The parliament’s cultural committee on Thursday debated funding NGOs in the cultural sector, but only ended a session demanded by the opposition Democratic Party (SDS) amid the recent Fotopub sex abuse scandal. However, it never adopted the resolution submitted by the party.

The SDS wanted to encourage the MP to prepare an analysis for the Ministry of Culture on which NGOs received public funding in 2012-2021 and whether they were used judiciously.

SDS MP Alenka Jeraj said the ministry provided 55 million euros to cultural NGOs over the past decade. This far exceeds her €20 million allocated for nursing homes by the state.

She believes the Treasury Department is not doing enough oversight of these funds and asked its representatives whether an audit had been conducted.

Jeraj cited a case of wasteful allocation of funds to the gallery Fotopub, managed by Dušan Smodej, who is at the center of allegations of sexual abuse of young women, and pointed out that the gallery failed to file a report on its operations.

MP also pointed to the Slovenian Literature Center, which published an offensive poetry collection on SDS, and the Mladzynsko Theater, which used a torn Slovenian flag in one of its works.

Jeraj said the reason for calling the committee meeting was the party’s desire to highlight that NGO funding may not be in line with all the strategies and guidelines the country has set in the cultural sector. said.

Culture Minister Asta Brechko explained that such an analysis had never been done under any minister before, but that the ministry had set up a Cultural Policy and Development Bureau to deal with such issues as well.

She said Fotopub has not yet produced a final report, despite receiving funding as part of the 2017-2021 public funding solicitation and being encouraged to do so.

“If these obligations are not met, NGOs will have no chance to apply for funding in future calls,” she said.

Vrečko points out that in recent years cultural NGOs have often been the target of slander, which in her view is offensive to cultural workers.

She doesn’t think the Cultural Committee is the right place to discuss sexual harassment, but she can’t deny the existence of sexual harassment in society and culture.

New Acting Director General Tjaša Pureber said systematic measures are needed to ensure that abuses do not continue. She also pointed out that so far there have been no documents mentioning ensuring a safe working environment. No resolution on funding cultural NGOs

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