Africa

New media’s most diplomatic ambassador pledges to keep blogging

By Simon Allison 3 November 2011

In possibly the first example of a blog causing a diplomatic incident, Britain’s social media-savvy ambassador to Sudan was censured by the government for comments made on his blog. Not that he’s taking much notice. By SIMON ALLISON.

It was Ambassador Nicholas Kay’s flair for the dramatic that got him into trouble with the authorities. Unhappy with his description on his blog of Sudan as “a country where hunger stalks the land”, he was summoned for a dressing down at the Sudanese foreign ministry where he was told that much of the information he presented was inaccurate or out of context.

Kay, the British ambassador to Sudan, had written a blog post outlining in some detail Sudan’s economic woes, particularly the sharp increase in prices which has led to small but significant protests against the Khartoum government. His conclusions were scathing, and decidedly undiplomatic: “Civilians suffer while leaders sacrifice lives rather than sit around a table. Miscalculation, pride and an exaggerated sense of strength bring suffering to tens of thousands,” he blogged.

But despite the minor diplomatic incident caused by his blog, he’s pledged to continue with it. “I am very pleased the blog has stimulated a debate about some of these important issues. I am sure that I shall be writing soon and look forward to the debate continuing,” he told reporters on Tuesday. The blog has not been updated since his controversial post.

This isn’t the first time that Kay’s blog has got him into trouble; in August, a Sudanese newspaper called for his expulsion after he criticised the government for spending more on intelligence services than education. DM



Read more:

  • Nicholas Kay’s blog;
  • UK Ambassador keeps blogging despite protest on Reuters Africa;
  • British Ambassador to Sudan summoned over hunger comments in the Sudan Tribune via AllAfrica.com.

Photo: REUTERS

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