RTL Klub is required to censor its ads

09.07.2021, Hungary, RTL Hungary

The new Hungarian legislation that bans “content promoting homosexuality or gender change” is in effect, leading to RTL Klub having to censor its ad campaign showing a gay marriage. 

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Photos: RTL Hungary.

On Thursday 8 July 2021, the new Hungarian legislation banning content (including advertisements) “promoting homosexuality or gender change” came into effect. When the law was adopted in June 2021, RTL Group supported RTL Hungary in protesting against the law (Backstage reported).

As the legislation is now in effect, the law influenced the farewell campaign for RTL Klub’s popular series Barátok Kötz (Among Friends). The ad campaign had images of important scenes from the series, including one photo showing a marriage between two men. On Thursday 7 July 2021, when the new law came into effect, RTL Hungary and RTL Klub were required to cover the original picture. Instead, they placed the following statement:

In accordance with the new Section 8 (1a) of the Advertisment Act, amended by Act LXXIX of 2021 (on stepping up against pedophile offenders and amending certain laws to protect children) adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 15 June 2021 the image from this Barátok Kötz (Among Friends) advertisement, depicting a scene from a 2018 episode can no longer be displayed since it displays homosexuality and the advertisement is also available to people under the age of 18 at this location.  
Protecting families and children is a top priority for RTL Hungary, not only in its programmes, but also in its social commitment. We firmly believe that diversity and tolerance are important European values. We are proud of the diversity of our workforce and the diversity of our society. Therefore, we would like to express our outmost concern that the new piece of legislation is a serious violation of the freedom of expression and information, and clearly discriminates against non-heterosexual members of society. 

In June, the European Commission was asked by the  Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), together with several European broadcasting organisations to open infringement proceedings following the adoption of the anti-LGBTIQ+ bill in Hungary (Backstage reported).