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Hungary Issues Film Ratings That Equate LGBT Topics With Violent Horror Movies

People unfurl a rainbow flag during an LGBT rights demonstration in front of the Hungarian parliament building in Budapest in June.
People unfurl a rainbow flag during an LGBT rights demonstration in front of the Hungarian parliament building in Budapest in June.

The Hungarian government has issued rating guidelines to broadcasters that would place some films featuring homosexuality or gender issues under the same restrictions as violent horror films.

Under the regulations issued on September 15 by the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), films that have LGBT topics or gender issues as a "defining feature" would be "not recommended" for people under the age of 18.

"General gestures expressing tenderness, like a kiss on the cheeks, a hug, holding hands while walking, or a kiss cannot be considered problematic unless they are portrayed for their own sake or constitute a central element of the program," the guidelines state.

Films prominently featuring such themes would have the same rating as films such as the Saw slasher series or The Exorcist.

The new guidelines come in the wake of the adoption in June of a law banning the "display and promotion of homosexuality" to children under 18.

The law was modeled on the controversial "gay propaganda" law adopted by Russia in 2013. That law has been sharply criticized by Human Rights Watch as having "increased…social hostility" toward gays in Russia and as "a classic example of political homophobia."

The Hungarian law has also been criticized by rights groups, the United States, and the European Union.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which has backed a strongly conservative social agenda, has said the legislation is needed to protect the "right of children to their gender identity received at birth."

Amnesty International's Budapest office issued a statement in June saying the law "will expose people already facing a hostile environment to even greater discrimination."

With reporting by Reuters,, and AFP
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