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Saturday, December 4, 2021

#TheSame: Hungarian media risk fines by sharing LGBT+ social media campaign

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Several media organisations in Hungary have defied a ban on publishing LGBT+ content geared towards children.

Three television channels and several magazines have said they will feature videos educating people about LGBT+ families.

MTV Hungary, Comedy Central Hungary, and Paramount Network Hungary will all take part in the #ugyanaz (#thesame) social media campaign.

In June, Hungarian MPs passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality or sex reassignment to anyone aged under 18.

The controversial anti-LGBT law has been criticised as discriminatory by the European Union and dozens of organisations.

The Foundation for Rainbow Families NGO (Szivárványcsaládokért Alapítvány) has welcomed the move by media groups to publish their content.

“The campaign draws attention to the fact that while rainbow families love, care for, and worry about their children just like all Hungarian families, the state does not give them equal rights,” the organisation said in a Facebook post.

The #TheSame campaign was launched earlier this month by the Foundation for Rainbow Families to mark International Children’s Rights Day.

Organisers say they hope the social media videos — featuring two speaking soft toys — will draw attention to the discrimination faced by LGBT+ families and their children.

“Despite having the same everyday life, children in rainbow families do not have the same rights,” the NGO said in a statement.

“We believe that all families with young children should have equal rights, opportunities, and support.”

More than 200 billboards and posters — some in newspapers and magazines — will also be displayed as part of the effort, as the media groups involved risk sanctions Hungary’s media regulator (NMHH).

Those found guilty of “promoting” homosexuality to children in Hungary can face fines under the “Children Protection Act”.

The ruling conservative Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the law is aimed at fighting paedophilia.

But the EU has widely condemned the Children Protection Act, saying it violates fundamental rights and limits sexual education in schools.

In July, the European Commission launched an investigation against Hungary as President Ursula von der Leyen described the law as a “shame”.

PM Orban has said that his government would hold a referendum on the controversial law but on Tuesday, Hungary’s parliament also approved constitutional amendments that proclaim that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man”.

The country also refuses to recognise gay marriage, while same-sex couples are banned from adopting children and Hungarians cannot change their gender legally.

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