Media group RTL Hungary is being sued by the radical right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for broadcasting an advertisement against homophobia. The action was started by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) on the pretext that the room is not suitable for children.
The ad, which has been running since December, reproduces criticisms of LGBT families – called rainbow families – made on social media and shows reactions and responses from gay fathers and mothers, teachers and a sociologist from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The Hungarian Media Law, one of the first texts promulgated after Orbán came to power in 2010, stipulates that broadcasting channels have among their objectives “to promote respect for the institution of marriage and of the family”.
In May last year, the country banned transgender people from changing their names on documents, and in November, it amended the constitution to restrict the definition of mother and father to heterosexual women and men, limiting the adoption by non-traditional couples.
Under the headline “Family is family”, the advertisement targeted by the lawsuit was produced by an association for the defense of LGBT rights, the Háttér Society. The NMHH also fined Coca-Cola in 2019 for the “Amor é amor” campaign, which featured same-sex couples.
According to the government, the photos of kissing between women and cuddling between men in soda ads could “harm the physical, mental, emotional and moral development of children and adolescents.”
In December last year, a children’s fairy tale book was forced by the Hungarian government to circulate with the warning that it “exhibits behavior different from traditional gender roles” because it includes LGBT characters and “non-whites”.
Without warning, authorities said “consumers may decide to buy the book based on misleading information and unknowingly find content that goes beyond the usual fairy tale content.”
The book, according to the publisher, deals with the difficulty some people have in finding their place in the world. In one of the tales, a prince marries another and illustrations show couples of different ethnicities, gypsies and people with disabilities.
Statements in interviews also led to sanctions – in one, a television station was fined for broadcasting an opposition politician’s statement that “only this horrible group of men whites, Christians and heterosexuals would remain ”if immigrants and others persecuted in Hungary were banished from the country.
LGBT rights organizations say the Orbán government has stepped up its actions against gays because its attacks on immigrants have not been enough to keep its popularity high. Hungary is among the countries the European Union is investigating for rule of law violations, including persecution of minorities and media interference.
Studies in 2019 indicated that pro-Orbán vehicles already made up 77.8% of the news and PR segment of the Hungarian media market, and last month the country’s last major independent radio station, Klub, was canceled.
The Hungarian government’s concept of family also angered women when, in a video titled “How a Woman Can Succeed”, Family Affairs Minister Katalin Novak said “women should not compete with women. men for equal positions or wages “.
In a country where female workers earn around 15% less than their male counterparts (according to 2019 data), the minister, who has among her goals to increase marriage and birth rates in Hungary, says the idea that you have to choose between having a lot of children and developing professionally.