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It’s now illegal to post storm pictures online, Dubai authorities warn

DUBAI: The authorities in the United Arab Emirates have warned citizens against posting pictures of ‘storms’ online.

According to their interior ministry, posting negative images or rumours about the recent flooding could be punished under the country’s cybercrime laws.

The International Business Times reported that damaging the country’s reputation online is punishable imprisonment and a fine of up to 1m Emirati Dirhams (£189,500).

Officials said people were “spreading rumours” and behaving “irresponsibly” on social media.

Heavy rain storms hit the gulf state earlier this week, flooding roads and causing flights to be cancelled.

Many have shared pictures of flooded roads and cars submerged in water. The UAE’s annual rainfall stands at 78 millimetres (three inches), more than 15 times less than the amount for an average year in Britain.

But the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said some 294 millimetres of rainfall were recorded on March 9 near Al-Ain.

Flights at Abu Dhabi airport were suspended for several hours on Wednesday, while the emirate’s stock market said it suspended trading and cancelled all morning deals after many traders could not reach the bourse.

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