UPDATE 2-Indian news agency ANI, broadcaster NDTV Twitter accounts restored after brief suspension

(Updates with restoration in paragraphs 1 and 2)

April 29 (Reuters) – The Twitter accounts of Indian broadcaster NDTV and the country’s ANI news agency were restored on Saturday after both said earlier in the day that their main Twitter accounts had been locked, without specifying a reason for the suspensions.

ANI’s restored Twitter handle tweeted that their account seemed to be functioning. “Inconvenience regretted for the temporary outage”, they said. NDTV’s Twitter account was also backed up.

Searches on Twitter for NDTV’s English service account @NDTV and the @ANI handle earlier in the day produced the message “This account doesn’t exist. Try searching for another.” Their other accounts appeared to be functional.

ANI Editor Smita Prakash tweeted a screenshot of the news agency’s handle being locked, with the message from Twitter stating the account “did not meet the age requirements” to be on the platform and would be removed.

NDTV’s other account @ndtvindia tweeted their main handle had been blocked, tagging Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s official handle, asking for the suspended account to be restored.

The tweet said the main NDTV handle was India’s most-followed English-language news handle, while Prakash reiterated that ANI’s account had 7.6 million followers prior to the suspensions. An immediate reason for the suspensions was not clarified by either party.

Several international media accounts, including US-based National Public Radio and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had stopped posting to their Twitter accounts earlier this month after Twitter labeled them “Government-funded.” The labels were later dropped.

Adani-owned NDTV is a listed company while ANI is private. Neither are known to have any funding from the government.

ANI did not respond to Reuters’ calls for a comment. NDTV and Twitter could not be immediately reached for a comment on the suspensions.

Twitter in January said accounts would only be suspended for severe or ongoing and repeated violations of the platform’s policies, however assuring that such accounts would also be able to appeal the suspensions.

Earlier this week, Twitter said it received 53,000 legal requests from governments during the first half of 2022 to remove certain content from the platform, with India among the countries submitting the most requests. (Reporting by Rahat Sandhu in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Clelia Oziel and Sandra Maler)

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