Monday, 23 October 2006

Darfur: The End of an Insider's Blog?

From my Reuters AlertNet blog, 23 October 2006.

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Khartoum has ordered Jan Pronk, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN in Sudan, to leave the country by Wednesday because of comments Pronk made on his blog. Some may dismiss this as hardly surprising because diplomacy and openness don't exactly mix.

I'm always a bit cautious of claims about the revolutionary character of blogging, and in some respects, I remain so in this case. After all, a diplomat can get kicked out of a country for saying the wrong thing in any forum, and annoying a host in a blog is little different from doing so in a media release or op-ed.

But there has been something unique about Pronk's blog. While it hasn't been as casually written or as frequently updated as many bloggers' fare, it has provided a running log of a high-level diplomat's thinking quite unlike anything we have seen elsewhere. What other top envoy dealing with such delicate matters of conflict resolution regularly pens such an ongoing account and commentary?

Given the subject matter, it is fairly incredible that Pronk has managed to keep his blog going for nearly a year. If it disappears, those of us following Sudan will lose a valuable window into peace efforts there

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