Although no official reason has been given for the withdrawal, a source inside Hungary’s public broadcaster reportedly said they assumed hostility to the contest’s LGBT+ links were behind the decision.
One pro-government commentator described Eurovision as a “homosexual flotilla” and said the country’s mental health would be better if it did not join the competition.
A source inside MTVA, the Hungarian public broadcaster which typically hosts its own song contest where the winner goes on to represent the country at Eurovision, told The Guardian: “I was not surprised. It comes from the organisational culture of MTVA.”
Positive coverage of LGBT+ rights in the media was discouraged, they told the paper.
It comes after Hungarian website index.hu quoted public media sources speculating the country had withdrawn because Eurovision was considered “too gay”.
In a statement, 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.”
The broadcaster announced last month the winner of its song contest would not go on to compete in Eurovision but would instead be given the chance to appear on domestic media shows and at festivals.
Hungary’s decision not to participate in Eurovision was then confirmed last week when the list of competing countries was published.
“I welcome the decision, including from a mental health perspective, that Hungary will not take part in the homosexual flotilla that this international song competition has been reduced to,” said Andras Bencsik, the editor of a pro-government magazine, said.
“Many young people thought that this is something for people under 18, but at this event the destruction of public taste takes place with screaming transvestites and bearded women.”
Associates of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, have gained control of a large swathe of the country’s media in recent years and his Fidesz party has taken control of state media.
The prime minister has launched a policy to promote traditional family values and boost birth rates, amid a rise in homophobia.
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