A source inside of the public broadcaster MTVA tells the Guardian that there was no official reason communicated for the country’s withdrawal, but employees assume Eurovision’s association with the LGBT+ community was the main reason for the decision.
“I was not surprised,” the source tells the newspaper, “it comes from the organisational culture of MTVA.” Hungary’s public broadcaster allegedly discourages positive coverage of LGBT+ rights. Earlier this year, a pro-Orbán television commentator called Eurovision a “a homosexual flotilla”, suggesting it would benefit the country’s mental health to not participate.
In recent years, the Hungarian LGBT+ community have faced an increase of violence and discrimination under the government of Viktor Orbán. For example, Coca-Cola was fined for a campaign with a gay couple, an LGBT+ film event was disrupted and government officials have connections with high-ranking Russians who actively pursue anti-LGBT+ policies.
MTVA told the Guardian: “Instead of taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020, we will support the valuable productions created by the talents of Hungarian pop music directly.” In previous years, the Hungarian entry for Eurovision was selected with a tv-show called A dal. The show still exists, but this time it will not serve as the national selection for Eurovision.
Today, the artwork for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest has been released: a circle with the 41 participating countries. For now, the flag of Hungary is still included in the artwork.