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18 June 2017

I’m not Twitter freak – Jon Benjamin – Starr Fm

 

The outgoing UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin has dismissed assertions that he spends a considerable amount of time on Twitter rather than working.

“Contrary to what some people think, I don’t actually spend nearly as much time as people think on Twitter. It’s a small part of what we do. Public diplomacy is incredibly important,” he said during a conversation with the host of The Lounge, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo Friday.

Mr. Benjamin has served in Ghana over the last three years and is set to be replaced by Iain Walker effective August 2017.

His tenure in Ghana has been deemed by many as controversial due to his outspoken nature and has on some occasions been at the receiving end of harsh criticisms from Ghanaians over certain utterances.

According to him, although some may disagree with his utterances and actions, he believes such disagreements could be made devoid of insults and attacks.

“I very much welcome disagreements and I think disagreements should be polite, I think it should address the issue. I am not a big fan of this attack dog, raining insults on people when you don’t want to address the issue,” he explained.

While some have lauded his diplomatic style, others believe it is unfitting.  But he is of the view that the world is presently in an era of mass communication and it is important for diplomats to descend from their “ivory towers” to interact with not only the elites in the nations in which they serve, but the entire populace.

“Diplomats for too long in history have been these rather remote, elite, distant people in their ivory towers who only deal with the most elite people of the societies they find themselves working in and I think there is room for conversations with millions of the ordinary citizens so I always try and make myself available and respond to questions,” he said.

He added that he is not the only British Ambassador who has this approach to public diplomacy.

The Lounge with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo airs live on Starr FM every Friday from 7pm to 8pm and on GHOne TV on Sundays from 8pm to 9pm.

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