Airing “fake news” is a death sentence for media outlets, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said at a retreat for Likud members in Eilat on Friday.
“Whoever airs fake news is bringing a death sentence upon himself and won’t produce news anymore,” he said.
Kara later clarified that he meant his remarks metaphorically, that those outlets will stop getting viewers.
The minister also talked at the Likudiada about his planned reform in broadcast media.
“We will make all the efforts to save Channel 20 and free up regulation,” he vowed. “No one will bring me down. I will do all that is necessary.”
Television regulators have ordered that the right-wing Channel 20 be shut down, saying it did not keep to the terms of its license. A deregulation bill by Likud MK Sharren Haskel that could save the channel is in the process of being legislated by the Knesset.
Likud MK Oren Hazan, who was present for the speech and has been known to make controversial statements himself, said: “I completely reject his bizarre words."
“I’m in shock that we’re in a reality in which we don’t execute terrorists, but we threaten to execute journalists,” Hazan continued. “Only the public judges the media, and they will vote with their remotes.”
“This isn’t the way of the Likud,” the MK said, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come out against Kara’s remarks.
Kara also came out strongly in support of Netanyahu, using the prime minister’s catchphrase to describe the investigations into corruption allegations against him: “There will be nothing, because there is nothing.”
“This is the best government of all time for the economy and for security.
They don’t have what to criticize, so they find these other things,” Kara said.
The Likudiada is a privately run retreat for Likud members. Many Likud lawmakers attend, though few of the senior ministers in the party made their way to Eilat for the weekend.
This week, the state comptroller said that the Likudiada constitutes an illegal Likud campaign donation, and fined the party NIS 350,000. The Likud said the event is no different from any other event planned by private party members, and plans to contest the fine in court.