Hungary launches terrifying crackdown on TV channel that aired pro-LGBT+ advert

Ádám Hanol looks at Marci Pál, against a brick background

Hungary’s television watchdog is launching a legal attack against a a TV network for airing a pro-LGBT+ advertisement.

The advert, according to the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, is not “suitable for children” because it featured same-sex families – clashing with the country’s strict media codes, Euractiv reported.

First airing across Radio Television Luxembourg (RTL) channels, the advert was part of a national campaign spearheaded by the national LGBT+ rights advocacy group Háttér Társaság.

It featured various LGBT+ people and experts, from educators to doctors to therapists, debunking myths about queer families.

Now Hungary’s broadcast regulators have taken aim at RTL for airing the ad on its channels.

In doing so, regulators said, RTL went against a controversial media law that says broadcasters must “respect for the institution of marriage and family values”.

Hungary media regulator is trying to ‘silence’ LGBT+ rights

Háttér Társaság made the advert in response to the government curtailing LGBT+ rights last year. Among a raft of sweeping measures, one amendment strictly defined a family including a man as the father and a woman as the mother.

This effectively barred same-sex couples from adopting, the latest salvo against the LGBT+ community by prime minister Viktor Orbán.

Háttér Társaság’s managing director told RTL News: “The purpose of the Media Authority is to silence LGBT+ organisations so that there can be no meaningful social debate on this issue.

“We think this campaign video was an important part of social dialogue. It does not contain items that would cause any disadvantage or harm to minors.”

Viktor Orbán in a navy suit and orange tie looks up while at a press conference

The prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has launched salvos after salvos against the LGBT+ community. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Obrán has sought to position LGBT+ people as enemies of the state and has left Hungary’s pro-LGBT+ media browbeaten. The increasingly autocratic and populist leader has starved publishers and broadcasters which are not supportive of his government of state advertising revenues.

Some LGBT+ Hungarians with the means to do so have already fled to neighbouring countries where they can “dream of having a better season”.

In 2015, the number of outlets that took a pro-government tilt was 31 – now it is more than 500, according to research by Atlatszo, one of the country’s few independently-owned news websites.