OAN’s Brooke Mallory
2:37 PM – Wednesday, November 1, 2023
This year’s World Press Photo exhibition in Budapest has prohibited entry for those under the age of 18 since the government of Hungary determined that certain images in the show infringe upon a “controversial” law that limits the content of LGBTQ+ publications.
Every year, nearly 4 million people from all around the world visit Hungary’s National Museum in Budapest to view the esteemed international picture show. Its goal is to provide a worldwide audience with visual coverage of significant events while showcasing exceptional photojournalistic skills.
However, a conservative Hungarian politician filed a complaint with the country’s culture ministry after seeing a series of five images taken by Filipino photojournalist Hannah Reyes Morales. The agency determined that the images violated a regulation in Hungary that forbids showing sexually explicit LGBTQ+ content to children.
From this point on, even if a minor were to receive parental consent, any child under 18 years old will not be granted entry to the photo exhibition.
The executive director of World Press Picture, Joumana El Zein Khoury, expressed concern at Hungary’s government’s targeting of a picture series “that is so positive, so inclusive.” One of the shows was being censored in Europe for the first time, she claimed.
“The fact that there is limited access for a certain type of audience is really something that shocked us terribly,” Khoury told reporters. “It’s mind-boggling that it’s this specific image, this specific story, and it’s mind-boggling that it’s happening in Europe.”
The decision to prevent children from attending the exhibition was the most recent action taken by the government of Hungary, which is led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, to limit the availability of media, including books, films, television shows, and commercials, to minors that advocate or portray homosexuality.
The European Union’s Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called the 2021 child protection bill “a disgrace,” despite the government’s insistence that it is intended to shield children from what it refers to as sexual promotion.
Fifteen nations have filed lawsuits in response to the law.
The right-wing legislator, Dora Duro, who filed the complaint over the images, expressed her fury upon seeing the exhibition and refuted the notion that the government’s action curtailed press or speech freedom.
“How the LGBTQ minority lives is not the biggest problem in the world,” Duro told reporters. “What we see as normal, what we depict and what we convey to (children) as valuable influences them, and this exhibition is clearly harmful to minors and, I think, to adults too.”
Tamas Revesz, an organizer of Hungarian exhibits for more than 30 years and a former member of the World Press Photo jury, said that many of the images in the exhibition—including coverage of the war in Ukraine—are “a thousand times more serious and shocking” than Morales’ series.
He noted that thousands of Hungarian teenagers will no longer be able to view the World Press Photo collection, even the pictures that don’t have LGBTQ+ material, as students make up almost half of the 50,000 visitors to the show in Hungary each year.
“The goal of each image and each image report is to bring the news to us, the viewer, and a lot of reporters risk their lives for us to have that knowledge,” Revesz said. “Everyone is free to think what they want about the images on display. These pictures were taken without prejudice, and we too should take what we see here without prejudice.”
A request for comment was not answered by Hungary’s minister of culture.
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