Israel are introducing new legislation that will make publishing so-called ‘fake news’ a criminal offence – punishable by the death penalty.

The harsh new law, proposed by Communications Minister Minister Ayoub Kara, could see reporters and journalists who criticize the Israeli government over their treatment of Palestinians face prison or execution.

Haaretz.com reports: An Israeli minister called African migrants a “sanitary nuisance.” Communications Minister Ayoub Kara made the comments Friday during an event for the Likud party in Eilat. He said that asylum seekers who worked in the southern resort town were an issue for the tourism hot spot.

His words come against the backdrop of a controversial plan by the Israeli government to forcefully deport African asylum seekers from the country.

In the beginning of the month, the Population, Immigration and Border Authority announced that it was launching a campaign to rid Israel of its asylum seekers, saying that among the 35,000 of them currently living in the country most of the Eritrean and Sudanese nationals will have to leave immediately or face incarceration.

“In my previous role, I was in charge of regional cooperation to save tourism in Eilat. We brought here 1,500 from Akaba and thus we deported, without making any effort, the illegal workers who infiltrated here and were a sanitary nuisance.”

Kara went on to make another harsh statement in the speech he made, calling for media outlets that broadcast “fake news” to be given the death verdict. His words were received with a round of applause. The communications minister said: “Everyone who brings [sic] fake news, will bring upon themselves the death verdict and there won’t be fucking fake news anymore.”

After facing backlash on social media following his statements, Kara clarified his words in an official statement.

“It’s funny to me [that I’m being criticized] because whoever sees me knows how important freedom of speech is to me, how supportive I am of reforms, how much I want transparency in the media.”

However, Kara then repeated his words regarding ‘fake news’ in the Israeli media. “Whoever brings [sic] fake news brings the death verdict on himself, not me. My intention is for people not to see [those who create fake news] on billboards. Not me. They will bring upon themselves not being seen.”