EU Commission: Hungarian LGBTQ+ bill violates tech and media laws

Hungary’s controversial bill that bars displays of homosexuality to children would violate the EU’s media and tech laws, the European Commission said Thursday. 

In a letter to Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga, EU commissioners Thierry Breton and Didier Reynders said the bill “unjustifiably” limits the television and online content currently regulated in the EU under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the e-Commerce Directive

The Commission said that the rules won’t allow Hungary to take down LGBTQ+ content because it is protected by fundamental rights. An exemption in the rules that allows countries to take down content if there is a “danger to a legitimate public interest,” the commissioners said, does not apply in this case. 

“Should the Bill enter into force, the European Commission will not hesitate to take action in line with its powers under the Treaty,” they wrote.

The Hungarian parliament last week approved a ban on the portrayal of homosexuality and gender transitioning in educational programs, advertising and television shows for minors. The Commission spoke out against the law on Wednesday, with President Ursula von der Leyen calling it a “shame,” and promising to use “all the powers of the Commission to ensure that the rights of all citizens are guaranteed.”

The EU’s laws set rules to fight illegal content online and on television. An update to the e-Commerce Directive is currently being debated in the EU’s institutions. 

The commissioners said they want a response before June 30. 

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