Hungary’s government, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s leadership, has imposed a ban preventing individuals under the age of 18 from attending the World Press Photo exhibition currently on display in Budapest. The ban was justified on the grounds of the presence of LGBT content in some of the photographs, aligning with the government’s Christian-conservative agenda.
This move comes in the wake of Hungary’s controversial 2021 legislation that prohibited the “display and promotion of homosexuality” in books and films accessible to individuals under 18, a decision met with strong opposition from both rights groups and the European Union. On Saturday, the Hungarian National Museum ceased selling tickets for the photo exhibition for minors after the far-right Mi Hazank/Our Homeland party initiated a government inquiry.
“Based on the initiative of Mi Hazank, youngsters under 18 cannot visit the exhibition at the National Museum as it violates the child protection law,” announced the far-right party, as reported by state news agency MTI. The new rule was subsequently posted on the museum’s website.
Despite inquiries, neither the exhibition’s organizer nor the government spokesperson responded to Reuters’ email queries regarding the ban. This development follows earlier incidents this year where Hungarian booksellers were fined for selling books depicting homosexuality that did not comply with the legislation’s requirement for plastic wrapping.
While the Hungarian government contends that the 2021 law aims to protect children, it has raised concerns and anxiety within the LGBT community, drawing international attention to the ongoing tensions surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary.