KATHMANDU, May 21: The United States Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry’s planned public interaction on social media has drawn mixed reaction from Nepalis.
Ambassador Berry shared the idea on Twitter and Facebook yesterday. ‘Rajdut Sanga Guff Gaff (chit chat with ambassador)’ is planned for every Monday. This will be a weekly interaction with the Embassy’s four million followers on various social media platforms.
Soon after the ambassador posted his plan through a video on Twitter and Facebook page, people from various walks of life have been commenting about the interaction program.
Some of the Twitter and Facebook users have termed it undiplomatic while some have perceived it as a tool to promote public diplomacy.
M Kattel writes on Twitter “Ambassador Berry! I do appreciate your wish to interact with your followers on social media. However, I do not think it conforms to your diplomatic standing, hence suggest reconsidering it.”
Senior journalist Kanak Mani Dixit wrote on Twitter that the ambassador’s interaction on social media is expected to tack away from human rights, politics, and geopolitics.
Another senior journalist Kiran Nepal called it a bad practice. “What happens if the Chinese and Indian Ambassadors hold similar social media interactions with Nepali people?” he argued.
Former Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gopal Thapa commented that the US ambassador’s planned public interaction on social media is against the diplomatic norms prescribed by the Vienna Convention.
Another former Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rambhakta Thakur said that the US ambassador should be advised not to hold public interaction on social media, calling it undesirable and undiplomatic.
A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Republica Online that the US Embassy in Kathmandu has not taken prior permission on the ambassador’s planned public interaction on social media.
Reacting on Twitter, spokesperson at the US Embassy, Andie De Arment, argued that public diplomacy is literally talking to people. "He is answering questions. Giving information. That is diplomacy," she said.