European Broadcasters Condemn Hungarian Anti-LGBTQ Bill, Urge Commission to Take Action

Broadcasting associations across Europe have condemned a bill recently passed by Hungary, saying that it openly discriminates against LGBTQ communities.

The Hungarian national acts on media services and mass media and advertising were amended to reflect the bill’s directive, prompting criticism from the associations, which claim the changes contravene fundamental rights enshrined in articles 7, 9, 11, 16 and 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) “by way of seeking to ban or limit exposure to LGBTIQ communities and issues in programming and advertising content.”

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“The bill depicts the promotion and representation of ‘deviation from identity corresponding to the gender assigned at birth, gender reassignment and homosexuality’ as harmful to minors. We do not agree with this interpretation,” the associations note in a joint statement.

The groups say that, in protecting minors, the measures need to be proportionate to the potential harm of the content, and must take into account the parameters of the EU’s fundamental rights charter. A test to determine this was “clearly not carried out,” they say. As such, “these measures would severely discriminate against LGBTIQ communities protected by article 21 of the CFR and impede the freedom to receive and impart information protected by article 11 CFR,” they argue.

The broadcasters have urged the European Commission to launch infringement proceedings against the bill “on the basis of Articles 3, 6a and 9 of the Audio-visual Media Services Directive and Articles 34 and 562 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”

Earlier this month, the anti-LGBTQ bill prompted a backlash by broadcasters including HBO, SPI International and A+E Networks.

This week’s protest is backed by the Association of Commercial Television in Europe, the Association of Conventional Chains Editors of Services, the Commercial On-Demand and Broadcasting Association, Confindustria Radio Televisioni, egta, privatsender, Screen Force and VAUNET.

Hungary is a hotbed of Hollywood production that has hosted shoots such as Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi tentpole “Dune,” Sony’s “The Nightingale,” Amazon Studios’ “Birds of Paradise,” TNT’s “The Alienist: Angel of Darkness,” and the Netflix fantasy series “The Witcher.”

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