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Legislation in the sphere of culture

Parliament of Moldova Republic
The Law on Culture (May 27, 1999) sets out the constitutional principles governing culture. According to Article 19, cultural institutions can be set up and run by the state, municipalities, public associations, religious organisations, arts organizations, international organisations, foreign countries, legal entities and individuals, including foreigners.

Under section 21 of the Law ("Financing of Culture"), cultural institutions cover their costs from their own resources, from income generated by their activities, as well as from other sources and revenues, as permitted under the legislation in force.

The following laws establish the scope, operations, governing structure and general procedures for funding cultural specific sectors:

  • Law on Monument Protection (June 22, 1993);
  • Law on Archives (January 22, 1992);
  • Law on Libraries (November 6, 1994);
  • Law on Publishing (April 20, 2000; modified on August 17, 2001);
  • Law on Theatres, Circus and Performing Art Organisations (October 31, 2002; modified on October 31, 2003 and December 18, 2003);
  • Law on Audiovisual Broadcasting (October 3, 1995);
  • Law on Architecture (February 27, 2001);
  • Law on Museums (December 12, 2002).

None of the laws listed above includes definite mechanisms for financing, this being a very significant and common gap between legislation and practice in the Republic of Moldova.

The aims and tasks of the Law on Theatres, Circuses and Performing Arts, modified in 2003, are an integral part of state cultural policy. The strategy in this sector is based on the acknowledgement of the importance of these sectors as the main elements of culture, as a means of preservation of the national consciousness and of the languages of minorities. They are regarded as the most important state institutions, with the role of supporting, edifying and developing the moral and spiritual life of society.

Articles 7 and 8 guarantee that the state creates the economic and legal conditions for performing artists, guarantees their legal rights and interests, contributes to the development of free competition, encourages intellectual and artistic potential, and the use of technical material, natural, labour, financial and informational resources. According to Articles 10 and 11 of the Law, performing arts organisations have more rights than before regarding their creative and economic activity. They can now decide on their own repertoire, can create artistic subdivisions and studios for the training of actors. The Law also allows for more diversity in spending of extra-budgetary income sources.

The current legal and organisational framework of the historical and cultural heritage of Moldova is based on the Law on Historical Monument Protection (1993) and the Law on Museums (2002). The Law on Historical Monument Protection protects monuments via a State-Protected Monuments Register. The concept of "monument" includes both immovable and movable cultural assets.

Applications must be filed and approved by the government and the Parliament before monuments can be officially registered. In accordance with the legislation in force, decisions of state bodies responsible for the protection of monuments are binding on all individuals and legal entities.

Conditions for the exercise of property rights on monuments apply to all property right holders, irrespective of the type of ownership and legal status of the owner. The right to use state monuments as immovable assets is, in accordance with the legislation, within the power of the parliament, and county, city, town or municipal councils, depending on the status of the protected monument. The right to use monuments as movable assets is, consequently, allocated by the government, prefect's offices and municipal administrations.

The Law on Museums establishes the general legal framework for the organisation and functioning of the museums in the Republic of Moldova. According to Article 2 of the Law, the state grants equal opportunities to all museums, irrespective of their specialisation and form of ownership.

Museums are non-profit institutions. Their responsibility is to safeguard and develop the country's cultural heritage in accordance with their special profile, to do research, to design and implement cultural and scientific projects aiming at the development of the community, to publish catalogues of the museums' collections and other relevant materials, and to initiate exchange programmes and co-operation with other national and international museums (Article 5 and 6). Article 16 specifies the organisation of museums, their rights and obligations.

The public museums are funded via the state budget and other sources. Museums are funded by the state budget and local budgets through approved projects and programmes or co-financed by other public or private funds, regardless of their form of ownership (Article 28: 1-2).

The Law on Libraries (1994) specifies the legal status of libraries and methods of their operations. According to Article 9, the national library network comprises libraries and biblioteconomic centres (territorial library associations within districts and municipalities that are involved in managing public libraries at the local level), organised by region and branch, set up and funded by the state. They are aimed at meeting the interests and needs for public information, training and culture, and are co-ordinated by a single body. Depending on the customer, libraries in Moldova are: specialised, educational or public. Libraries can be state-owned, public and private. The law includes detailed provisions on library collections, on the economic basis of libraries and international collaboration between libraries.

The Law on Architecture provides an overall legal framework for all architectural activities, it determines the responsibilities of central and local administrative bodies regarding architecture and town planning, guarantees architects' author's rights, and stipulates their main tasks, rights and obligations. According to Article 3, the state supports scientific research in the field of architecture, attracts investments in town planning; organises the training of architects, and ensures the freedom of architectural creation. The state also promotes national and international contests and encourages the creation of outstanding architectural objects. Article 9 and 10 of the Law state, that local and foreign architects working in the Republic of Moldova have the same rights and responsibilities.

The Law on publishing (2000, modified in 2001) sets out the legal framework for publishing and the state policy on book publishing. These provisions are designed to prevent monopolies, uphold freedom of expression and ensure the consolidation and modernisation of the available technical, organisational, legal and scientific facilities in this sector.

The following rights are accorded under Section 4 of this law: the right to set up publishing houses; the right to publish; and the publisher's intellectual property rights for works published, which guarantee publishing rights in the Republic of Moldova and abroad. The Law on Publishing also contains provisions on publishing contracts, the organisational aspects of publishing, the distribution of published materials, state guarantees in the field of publishing, and international co-operation.

The Audiovisual Broadcasting Law (1995) sets out the criteria for granting broadcasting licenses, and the regulations governing satellite and cable broadcasting. It provides for the rights and obligations of audiovisual institutions and their staff, and contains regulations concerning responsibility for broadcast contents and international co-operation in the field of audiovisual communication. Section 13 of the Law on Audiovisual Broadcasting stipulates that each channel must broadcast at least 65% of its programmes in the official language of the Republic of Moldova. However, this obligation is rarely fulfilled primarily due to the ambiguities in the Law (see chapter 4.2.2). This language quota does not apply to foreign broadcasters in the Republic. Section 31 of the Law concerns the activities of the Audiovisual Co-ordination Board, consisting of 15 members. They are appointed by the Parliament, by the President of the Republic of Moldova and by the government department responsible for broadcasting. Their term of office is 5 years and the Board is the "guarantor" of public interests.

Other laws partly related to culture:

  • Law on the State Language, Law on the Functioning of Languages Spoken in the Republic of Moldova, Law on the Latin Alphabet (1989);
  • Law on Advertising (1997);
  • Law on Children's Rights (1994);
  • Law on Education (1995);
  • Law on Tourism (2000);
  • Law on Physical Culture (1999);
  • Law on Philanthropy and Sponsorship (2002);
  • Law on Local Public Administration (1998);
  • Law on Public Associations (1996).


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