July 7, 2021

Hungary’s censorship legislation

Advocacy, Statements

On 15 June 2021, as part of an ongoing attack on LGBTQI rights, the Hungarian Parliament adopted several amendments that go against EU legislation and international human rights standards. These amendments will be introduced into current Hungarian legislation (such as the Child Protection Act, the Family Protection Act, the Public Education Act, and the Media Act) to severely restrict freedom of speech and children’s rights. The text effectively bans the “portrayal and promotion of gender identity different from sex assigned at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality” for persons under the age of 18, and states that “sexual culture, sexual life, sexual orientation or sexual development” cannot be part of sexuality education.

We condemn this new legislative assault that further marginalises Hungarian LGBTQI communities already suffering from a hostile environment created by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition. The law is very similar to the infamous Russian anti-propaganda law, and will have a disastrous effect on LGBTQI communities. We stress the particularly adverse consequences for the Hungarian LGBTQI youth:

In Hungary, 60% of young people aged 15-17 feel discriminated against at school because of being LGBTQI. Positive public representation, inclusive school curricula, training of teachers as well as strong school support systems for LGBTQI youth have been shown to greatly benefit their personal development by significantly reducing stigma and prejudices. This new governmental crackdown outlaws these potential drivers for positive change, contributes to a hostile school climate, exposes vulnerable young LGBTQI persons to further stigmatisation and puts their mental health as well as physical safety at an even greater risk.

The amendments also obstruct the already difficult task of civil society organisations and activists on the ground working tirelessly for the well-being and rights of LGBTQI youth in Hungary. The restriction of sexual education classes to certain registered organisations is likely going to be used to exclude LGBTQI inclusive NGOs entirely from these spaces. Furthermore, given the legal insecurity surrounding the vague terms “portrayal” and “promotion”, the law threatens to fully silence the voices of these actors in the public discourse.

Once again, we strongly condemn these discriminatory amendments and share our unconditional solidarity with Hungarian LGBTQI communities. During these difficult times IGLYO urges all LGBTQI allies to reach out and raise their voices in support, and thanks those who have already shown their support to young Hungarian LGBTQI people. 

Tomorrow (8 July 2021) the European Parliament will hold a joint debate in the Plenary on Article 7 concerning Poland and Hungary, and on breaches of EU law of the rights of LGBTQI people in Hungary. Read here the motion for a resolution to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure on breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary as a result of the legal changes adopted by the Hungarian Parliament.

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