Top Polish theatre festival protests govt funding cut
Friday, June 08, 2018       02:12 WIB

Warsaw, June 7, 2018 (AFP)
A popular Polish theatre festival on Thursday filed a complaint against the country's right-wing government for cuts in funding it claims were linked to the appointment of a controversial figure as the director of last year's edition.
The Malta Festival, held annually since 1991 in the western city of Poznan, claims it lost government funding to the tune of 300,000 zloty (71,000 euros, $83,000) -- a large chunk of its overall 100,000 euro budget -- after Croat theatre director Oliver Frljic was named to run it in 2017.
The funds had been agreed in 2016 as part of a three-year package.
The festival, which attracts around 85,000 people each year, has called for donations to fill the gap.
The public appeal, dubbed "Zostan Ministrem Kultury" ("Become the Minister of Culture"), has received wide support from individual and company sponsors.
"While the Malta Festival itself was not blacklisted by the ministry of culture, Olivier Frljic was after he staged a provocative play in Warsaw," festival director Michal Merczynski told AFP on Thursday.
Poland's powerful Roman Catholic Church slammed Frljic's play titled "The Curse" as being "blasphemous" for showing sex scenes involving crosses and one simulating oral sex on a statue of the late Polish-born pope Saint John Paul.
"The (culture) ministry is entitled to award financial aid according to its own criteria, but we must be paid what we were allocated and we can't accept this kind of bad precedent," he said.
Since coming to power in 2015, Poland's governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party has come under heavy criticism at home and abroad over a slew of reforms that critics say erode democratic standards and the rule of law.
The European Union launched legal action against the PiS government last December over reforms that it fears will limit judicial independence.
But the PiS administration has also gained popularity among some Polish voters for its generous social spending, including a new monthly child benefit and lowering the pension age.

Sumber : AFP