Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Hungary taken to EU’s highest court over LGBT and media freedom laws

People march during a gay pride parade in Budapest (Anna Szilagyi/AP)
People march during a gay pride parade in Budapest (Anna Szilagyi/AP)

The European Union’s executive has intensified its legal stand-off with Hungary by taking the country to the EU’s highest court over a restrictive law on LGBT issues and media freedom.

The EU had tried for a year to make Hungary change a law that bans content portraying or promoting homosexuality.

The European Commission said it “discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

“The commission considers that the law violates the internal market rules, the fundamental rights of individuals (in particular LGBTIQ people) as well as — with regard to those fundamental rights — the EU values,” the statement said.

It was the latest episode in a long political battle in which Brussels perceives Prime Minister Viktor Orban as deliberately stepping away from the cornerstones of western democracy while Hungary depicts the European Commission as meddling in internal politics and imposing moral standards it considers far too liberal.

Hungary’s right-wing governing party last year banned the depiction of homosexuality or sex reassignment in media targeting minors under 18.

Information on homosexuality was also forbidden in school sex education programmes, or in films and adverts accessible to minors.

The governing Fidesz party argued the measures were meant to protect children from paedophilia.

But the law spurred large protests in the capital, Budapest, and critics, including numerous international rights organisations, said the measures served to stigmatise LGBTQ people and conflate them with paedophiles.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen immediately called the law “a shame” and made it a point of pride to counter it with legal procedures. Friday’s decision was the latest step in the drawn-out process.

“The commission decided to bring the case to court because the Hungarian authorities have not sufficiently addressed the commission’s concerns and have not included any commitment from Hungary to remedy the situation,” European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said.

At the same time, the commission has long criticised the retrenchment of media freedoms in the member state and on Friday it took Hungary to the European Court of Justice because it believes it muscled out a radio station because it refused to toe the government line.

Commercial station Klubradio, which went off air over a year ago, was one of the last radio channels in Hungary that regularly featured opposition politicians and other critical voices during its news and talk programmes.

Critics of the government say the station’s liberal stance led to a discriminatory decision by the country’s media regulator when it refused to renew Klubradio’s broadcasting licence.

The station has broadcast only online since losing its radio frequency.

“The (EU) Commission believes that Hungary is in breach of EU law by applying disproportionate and non-transparent conditions to the renewal of Klubradio’s rights to use radio spectrum,” the EU statement said.