Hungarian media regulation authority’s censorship of the Family is Family campaign – MEPs write to the Commission

Margrethe Vestager,Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age

Věra Jourová,Vice-President for Values & Transparency

Helena Dalli,Commissioner for Equality

Brussels, 19 March 2021

Subject: Attempts of the Hungarian media regulation authority to censor LGBTI-friendly campaign

Dear Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager,

Dear Vice-President Vera Jourova,

Dear Commissioner Helena Dalli, 

On Tuesday 2 March, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH – Media Authority) has announced that it will launch legal proceedings against the RTL Hungary media group, following the airing of the Family is Familycampaign which aims to address discrimination against rainbow families.[1] The RTL Hungary media group is now facing sanctions for broadcasting LGBTI-friendly content. This is contributing to the chilling effect on media freedom and freedom of expression in the country, and to further discrimination against LGBTI people. 

Over the last few months, Fidesz have significantly increased their attacks against LGBTI people. In 2020, the Hungarian government de facto banned legal gender recognition through an omnibus bill and amended the Constitution, which now includes a provision stating that heterosexual couples are the sole acceptable family model and that this should be based on Christian values. These latest developments were condemned in the recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament:[2]

U.  whereas legal developments in Hungary have severely hindered the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people; whereas the adoption of Article 33 of the Omnibus Bill T/9934 de facto bans legal gender recognition for trans and intersex persons in Hungary, exposing them to discrimination and infringing their right to privacy; whereas in December 2020, the Hungarian Parliament adopted constitutional amendments which further restrict the rights of LGBTIQ people, neglect the existence of transgender and non-binary persons and restrict their right to family life, and a law that will strip non-married couples of the right to adoption;

Worryingly, the Media Council has been key in supporting the government’s strategy to dismantle press freedom and media pluralism in Hungary. As highlighted in the Hungary country chapter of the 2020 European Commission Rule of Law Report, “the independence and effectiveness of the Media Council is at risk (…)”, mostly because its five members were all appointed by Fidesz. There have already been several victims of the politically motivated decisions taken by the Media Council. Among them are the remaining Hungarian independent media, including the radio broadcast Klubrádió which, as you know, had to stop emitting on 14 February 2021. 

Based on these new developments: 

  • Which actions does the European Commission intend to take in order to prevent a member state’s media regulation authority to censor media content and advertising which complies with Article 9 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), bearing in mind Article 11 (freedom of expression) and 21 (non-discrimination) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights?
  • Will the European Commission launch an infringement procedure against Hungary for breaching Article 30(2) of the AVMSD, according to which “national regulatory authorities or bodies exercise their powers impartially and transparently”, in conjunction with Article 11 of the Charter?

Media freedom is a key component of the rule of law, and hence EU common values. We call on you to investigate on this matter and to take action urgently.

Sincerely yours, 

Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Vice-President, Greens/EFA & Rapporteur on the situation in Hungary

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup (S&D)

Terry REINTKE, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup (Greens/EFA, Vice-President)

Fabio Massimo CASTALDO, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (EP Vice-President, Non-attached)

Liesje SCHREINEMACHER, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (Renew Europe)

Malin BJÖRK, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (The Left)

Maria WALSH, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (EPP)

Klara DOBREV, Vice-President of the European Parliament (S&D)

Hélène FRITZON, Vice-President, S&D

Alice BAH KUHNKE, Vice-President, Greens/EFA

Ernest URTASUN, Vice-President, Greens/EFA

Jordi SOLÉ, EFA President & Vice President, Greens/EFA

Kira PETER-HANSEN, Vice-President, Greens/EFA

Sira REGO, Vice-President, The Left

Andreas SCHIEDER (S&D)

Anna CAVAZZINI (Greens/EFA)

Anna DONÁTH (Renew Europe)

Attila ARA-KOVÁCS (S&D)

Benoît BITEAU (Greens/EFA)

Bettina VOLLATH (S&D)

Birgit SIPPEL (S&D)

Bogusław LIBERADZKI (S&D)

Brando BENIFEI (S&D)

Caroline ROOSE (Greens/EFA)

Christophe HANSEN (EPP)

Claude GRUFFAT (Greens/EFA)

Csaba MOLNÁR (S&D)

Cyrus ENGERER (S&D)

Damien CARÊME (Greens/EFA)

Daniel FREUND (Greens/EFA)
David CORMAND (Greens/EFA)

Diana RIBA I GINER (Greens/EFA)

Dietmar KÖSTER (S&D)

Eleonora EVI (Greens/EFA)

Erik MARQUARDT (Greens/EFA)

Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP (The Left)

Evin INCIR (S&D)

François ALFONSI (Greens/EFA)

Gabriele BISCHOFF (S&D)

Grace O’SULLIVAN (Greens/EFA)

Hannah NEUMANN (Greens/EFA)

Hilde VAUTMANS (Renew Europe)

Isabel SANTOS (S&D)

István UJHELYI (S&D)

Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (Renew Europe)

Karen MELCHIOR (Renew Europe)

Karima DELLI (Greens/EFA)

Karin KARLSBRO (Renew Europe)

Kim VAN SPARRENTAK (Greens/EFA)

Laurence FARRENG (Renew Europe)

Leila CHAIBI (The Left)

Magdalena ADAMOWICZ (EPP)

Manuel BOMPARD (The Left)

Marek BALT (S&D)

Margrete AUKEN (Greens/EFA)

Marianne VIND (S&D)

Marie TOUSSAINT (Greens/EFA)

Miapetra KUMPULA-NATRI (S&D)

Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA)

Mikuláš PEKSA (Greens/EFA)

Milan BRGLEZ (S&D)

Monika VANA (Greens/EFA)

Moritz KÖRNER (Renew Europe)

Mounir SATOURI (Greens/EFA)

Niklas NIENASS (Greens/EFA)

Nikolaj VILLUMSEN (The Left)

Olivier CHASTEL (Renew Europe)

Patrick BREYER (Greens/EFA)

Pernando BARRENA ARZA (The Left)

Petra KAMMEREVERT (S&D)

Pina PICIERNO (S&D)

Radka MAXOVÁ (Renew Europe)

Ramona STRUGARIU (Renew Europe)

Rasmus ANDRESEN (Greens/EFA)

Romeo FRANZ (Greens/EFA)

Rosa D’AMATO (Greens/EFA)

Salima YENBOU (Greens/EFA)

Sándor RÓNAI (S&D)

Sandro GOZI (Renew Europe)

Sara MATTHIEU (Greens/EFA)

Saskia BRICMONT (Greens/EFA)

Sergey LAGODINSKY (Greens/EFA)

Silvia MODIG (The Left)

Stelios KOULOGLOU (The Left)

Svenja HAHN (Renew Europe)

Sylvie GUILLAUME (S&D)

Sylwia SPUREK (Greens/EFA)

Viola VON CRAMON (Greens/EFA)

Yannick JADOT (Greens/EFA)


[1] Read here: https://telex.hu/belfold/2021/03/04/eljarast-inditott-a-mediatanacs-az-rtl-ellen-mert-leadtak-egy-szivarvanycsaladokrol-szolo-tarsadalmi-hirdetest

[2] European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2021 on the declaration of the EU as an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone (2021/2557(RSP)), accessible at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0089_EN.html.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *