The rainbow flag flying over the Foreign Office in 2014 via Flickr

Prominent broadcasters in Hungary have criticised the ban against the “display and promotion of homosexuality”.

Leading German broadcaster RTL has released a statement against Hungary’s anti-LGBT law saying it “condemned homophobia”.

The company said: “We worry that the bill gravely harms freedom of expression, human rights and basic freedoms.”

Major broadcasters HBO, SPI International and A+E Networks have supported RTL’s statement against the law.

An RTL spokesman stated new legislation impacts the company including a need for a new strategy, WTVB reports.

Speaking to Reuters, RTL said the new law could offer a basis to ban prime time family favourite shows, such as Friends and Modern family, as they may address theme or subjects of homosexuality.

“Based on this, works like ‘Billy Elliott’, ‘Philadelphia’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, or even some Harry Potter films would only be shown late at night,” the broadcaster told Reuters. “Series like ‘Modern Family’ would be banned, as would some episodes of ‘Friends’.”

In an email to Reuters, major broadcaster HBO stated they “stand against all forms of homophobia, prejudice or discrimination”.

Adding: “The enduring power of all of our stories can open our eyes to the world, to each other and to new and different perspectives.”

Hungary’s newly introduced law states its aim to “defend the right of children to an identity that conforms to their birth gender”, and will also ban content from minors that “promotes or depicts gender change and homosexuality”.

This anti-LGBTQ+ ruling will also apply to advertisements as well as school curriculums. 

The legislation was passed by 157 votes to just one in the National Assembly, despite leading human rights officials and activists in Europe criticising the bill as “an affront against the rights and identities of LGBTI persons”.

The ruling national-conservative Fidesz party were joined by the right-wing Jobbik party in overwhelmingly voting in favour of the new measure, while an independent lawmaker voted against it.

Leftist opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest, while thousands of LGBTQ+ activists held a demonstration in Budapest on Monday (14 June) in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the new measure being passed into law.

LGBTQ+ activists and human rights groups have condemned the legislature, seeing it as another opportunity for LGBTQ+ citizens to be harassed and discriminated against because of their sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

The bill has widely been compared to Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which was passed in 2013, that bans disseminating “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among Russians.