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Is there a legal definition of hate speech?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Crime Legislation & Implementation
11/03/2012 - 19:26
Short Answer

yes, but quite broad

Qualitative Info

The article of the Criminal Code on incitement against community[1] provides with protection against non-violent conduct motivated by racism, xenophobia or other bias motive (e.g. homophobia[2]), according to which anyone publicly inciting hatred against the Hungarian nation or any national, ethnic, racial or other groups of the population shall face punishment for a felony offence with imprisonment for up to three years.

The article of the Criminal Code on ban of denying, doubting, or trivialising genocide or crimes against humanity committed by totalitarian regimes[3] originally dealt only with holocaust denial or trivialising (it came into force in February 2010). A few months later, as a result of legislative initiatives of the newly elected Hungarian government, this sub-paragraph was amended (entered into force in July 2010). The new version of this paragraph is extended to the crimes of both ‘national socialist’ and ‘communist regimes’, and the term ‘holocaust’ is no longer there in the text. The current form of this legislation covers a broader range of crimes than the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA does.



[1]    Act No. IV of 1978 on the Criminal Code, Article 269., available at (20. 02. 2012.)

[2]    See the interpretation of the law regarding homophobic hate crimes on the website of the (former) Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, Jogi hátter – Magyar jogszabályok, available at: (20.02.2012).

[3]    Hungary/Act No. IV. (1978), Article 269/C.


Groups affected/interested Roma & Travelers, Ethnic minorities, Religious minorities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Type (R/D) Anti-semitism, Anti-roma/zinghanophobia, Religious intolerance, Homophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Anti-racism
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