Press release: where inaction begets impunity, LGBTI people bear the brunt of it. The new legislative amendments enact a Russian-style ‘propaganda law’

Brussels, 14 June 2021

On 10 June 2021, Members of Parliament of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz introduced amendments to several pieces of legislation. Among these amendments is a ban on the “portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality” for persons under 18. This language would be introduced in the Child Protection Act, Act on Business Advertising Activity, Media Act and the Family Protection and the Public Education Acts.[1] The vote on the amendments is scheduled for 15 June 2021. 

The legal changes breach several EU laws, namely the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)[2] and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive,[3] in addition to the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Horizontal Directive,[4] still stalled in the Council, would have strengthened the EU anti-discrimination landscape. The LGBTI intergroup had already written to the Commission on the sanctioning of the RTL Media group and the potential breach of the AVMSD.[5]

Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, comments:

Yet again, we see Fidesz scapegoating LGBTI persons and their lives, reaching for the polls in the 2022 elections. We see it coming from afar and it bears clear resemblance with the demonisation of migrants and asylum-seekers. This fearmongering became a state-sponsored tactic. In the letter we addressed to the Commission on the sanctioning of the RTL media group, we asked whether infringement procedures would be initiated. The response was but another fragile lid on a boiling pot. Will the Commission take charge now?

Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, concludes:

NGOs and activists struggle to defend themselves in Hungary, yet the Commission remains silent. The Council, which stalled the Horizontal Directive, has equally for months allowed article 7 proceedings to stall, turning a blind eye on ongoing events. On 22 June, the Portuguese Presidency will hold Article 7 hearings. We call on the Member States to clearly address ongoing breaches of fundamental rights in order to have a reasoned discussion on the ongoing affronts against EU values and laws. Russia-style ‘anti-LGBTI propaganda” laws have no place in our Union!


[1] Reuters (11 June 2021), “Hungary’s Fidesz moves against LGBT community with 2022 vote in sight, accessible at https://www.reuters.com/article/hungary-lgbt-legislation/hungarys-fidesz-moves-against-lgbt-community-with-2022-vote-in-sight-idUSL2N2NT0B1; ILGA-Europe (11 June 2021), “ILGA-Europe’s statement on proposed anti-LGBTI and illegal amendments by FIDESZ in the Hungarian parliament”, accessible at https://ilga-europe.org/resources/news/latest-news/hungarian-parliaments-proposed-amendments-censoring-public-communication.

[2] Audiovisual Media Services Directive, accessible at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2018/1808/oj.

[3] Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, accessible at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32005L0029.

[4] Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation {SEC(2008) 2180} {SEC(2008) 2181}

[5] LGBTI Intergroup (19 March 2021), letter titled “Attempts of the Hungarian media regulation authority to censor LGBTI-friendly campaign”, accessible at http://lgbti-ep.eu/2021/03/22/hungarian-media-regulation-authoritys-censorship-of-the-family-is-family-campaign-meps-write-to-the-commission/.

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