8.1 General context
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There are very few data available concerning the trends in young’s people’s cultural participation. Most of the available information on the question of cultural participation of young people is presented in the publication Youth Trends in Republic of Macedonia (Mладински трендови во Република Македонија). The research was produced in 2014 by the Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research Skopje and upon agreement with the Agency of Youth and Sport.
The research shows that a quarter of young people in North Macedonia does not attend cultural programmes. Those who do, are mostly interested in attending concerts and multi-media events and they show least interest in poetry festival. Most of the events are organized in the capital or some bigger towns and therefore, the youth population from rural areas has more obstacles (financial and geographical obstacles) to attend. There are differences between the different ethnicities in the state. Thus, from the young Albanians, 48.4% reported that they did not attend cultural events at all, while the percentage of Macedonians was 15.1%. It seems that educational status is associated with attending cultural events. According to the research 73,8% who completed only primary education do not attend any cultural events.
The most visited cultural institution is the cinema (34,5%) while only 1% of the young people are visiting the opera. One quarter of the youth population is not reading books at all. Most of the young people are interested in watching TV. Women are mainly interested in TV serials and men are mostly interested in sport channels. All young people watch a lot of films; most of them (58%) comedies and only 17% watch history movies.
44% of youngsters are listening to pop music, which makes pop music take the most important place in youth culture. 24% of the young people are listening to “turbo-folk” music which is a popular folk music in the region of the Balkans. The musical preferences of the young people depend on the age, level of education and ethnical groups.
Related to the cultural needs of the young people, most of them have expressed their willingness for more amusement parks, open-air festivals and concerts (55%). Only 29% consider that theater plays are more needed. The cultural needs of the young people depend mainly on the place of living. Namely, young people living in smaller towns expressed more need for cinema compared to the youngsters from the capital.
- lack of regular cultural events for young people (concerts, multimedia events) in places outside Skopje;
- lack of interest among young people in attending cultural events and cultural institutions;
- lack of interest amongst youth in creative artistic work in organized forms; and
- new media culture that is becoming ever more popular among young people at the expense of literature, but about which there is a lack of media literacy, with many young people unable to recognize the influence of media culture, including the manipulations that engender negative attitudes to foreign cultures.
 National Youth Strategy 2016-2025, Agency of Youth and Sport of Republic of Macedonia (2016), p.28 http://strategijazamladi.mk/sites/default/files/National-Youth-Strategy-2016-2025.pdf (Accessed December 17, 2018)
The Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia states that the cultural rights are one of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the citizens. Therefore, it guarantees the freedom of any kind of cultural, scientific and intellectual creation. The Constitution also guarantees the protection and affirmation of cultural heritage as well as the contemporary cultural heritage of all people living in North Macedonia. The Constitution also gives right and freedom of all communities living in North Macedonia to express and develop their cultural identity, create cultural institutions or other forms of associations.
Besides National Strategy for Development of Culture 2018-2022 (Национална Стратегија за развој на културата во Република Македонија во периодот 2018-2022 година), the country has Law on Culture (Закон за култура) adopted in 1998 which has so far undergone many changes. The Law defines the foundations of culture as a fundamental value of the country, the forms of culture, the manner and conditions of its financing, as well as other issues of interest to the culture. Culture, in terms of the law, covers: creation, publication of artistic creation and the protection and use of creation.The Law states that:
The country encourages and helps culture, especially through:
1. favorable conditions for achieving cultural values;
2. special conditions for the establishment and operation of cultural subjects;
3. stimulating tax and customs policy;
4. special rights in labor relations in culture;
5. provision and protection of originals or samples, i.e. documentation of published works through purchase, compulsory preservation and protection of works of art and publications, provision and protection of films and film materials, documentation for music and stage works, documentation for performed architectural works etc;
6. determining and awarding republican awards and recognitions in the field of culture;
7. scholarships in the field of culture and
8. insurance especially of prominent artists, rare and expensive instruments, objects and monuments of cultural and historical significance, etc.
As cultural heritage is very important for our society and reflects Macedonian tradition, in 2004 the Government adopted Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage (Закон за заштита на културното наследство). The Law so far has undergone more changes. The law specifies the types, categories, identification, methods of protection and other instruments for protection of cultural heritage, the regime of protection and use of cultural heritage, the rights and duties of the holders and the restrictions on the right to ownership of cultural heritage in the public interest , organization, coordination and supervision, professional titles and other issues that are of importance for the unity and functioning of the system for protection of cultural heritage in the country.
Cultural heritage in terms of the Law are material and immaterial goods which, as an expression or testimony of human creativity in the past and present or as common works of man and nature, due to their archaeological, ethnological, historical, artistic, architectural, urban, ambient, technical, sociological and other scientific or cultural values, properties, contents or functions, have cultural and historical significance, and for the sake of their protection and use, they are under the legal regime in accordance with the law .
Since the culture is created on the basis of equality of all people, the National strategy for Development of Culture 2018-2022 aims to make culture accessible to all. Therefore, each citizen of the country, regardless of his/her gender, ethic, religious or political beliefs has equal right to access cultural benefits.