BUDAPEST — Hungary’s Parliament voted on Tuesday to adopt legislation that would increase sentences for sex crimes against children, but critics say the law is being used to target the country’s L.G.B.T. community ahead of crunch elections for Prime Minister Viktor Orban next year.
Last-minute changes to the bill, which was prompted by public outrage after a series of sex scandals involving governing party and government officials, included restrictions against showing or “popularizing” homosexuality and content that promotes a gender that diverges from the one assigned at birth.
Mr. Orban’s critics say the changes were made to target the country’s L.G.B.T. community in an effort to rally support from his conservative base and shift the focus away from the failures of his administration ahead of elections in 2022.
The new rules, unexpectedly added to the bill by government-aligned lawmakers last week, require the labeling of all content that might fall into that category of “not recommended for those under 18 years of age.” Such content would be restricted for media like television to the hours between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The restrictions extend to advertisements and even sexual education, which the law would restrict to teachers and organizations approved by the government. The bill would also create a public database of sex offenders.
Mr. Orban has increasingly presented himself as a protector of traditional Christian values, although that image has been undermined somewhat by the sex scandals involving officials and allies of his Fidesz party over the past few years.
Last year, a Hungarian diplomat in Peru was convicted of possession of child pornography and handed an $1,800 fine and a suspended prison sentence after being brought home and charged in
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