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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Diplomat blog pulled after abuse
Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok's sex districts
Some readers reported seeing Ian Proud in the red light district

A British diplomat's blog offering his thoughts on Thailand has been withdrawn after insults and accusations were posted on it by members of the public.

Ian Proud, 38, whose four-year tenure with the British Embassy in Bangkok ends in May, wrote reflections on Thailand for the website of the country's The Nation newspaper.

The blog, which appeared with his photo, received 100 postings within its first two days, including some from people claiming to have seen Mr Proud in Bangkok's red light districts.

One posting referred to Mr Proud having been in the notorious Soi Cowboy area which is packed with go-go and sex bars.

The Foreign Office said the policy of diplomats writing internet blogs was currently under review.

A spokeswoman said the blog had reflected "Ian's personal views".

'Malicious accusations'

"The blog has been withdrawn," she said. "Ian was the victim of malicious accusations about his personal life and he has rejected these accusations."

Mr Proud, who heads the British Embassy's political division in the city, was asked to be a blogger by his friend Tulsathit Tuptim, the editor of the English-language newspaper.

The blog was intended for Mr Proud to write about his "Thai experiences with British perspective and humour" before ending his tenure.

Mr Proud's blog had included ponderings on the British penchant for pet dogs and the mysteries of the "Thai smile".

However, one posting in response said: "I recall going to the embassy once and that same night I was down on Cowboy and who did I bump into? Yes it was Ian," it said.

BLOGGING PROBLEMS
Keyboard

However, Mr Proud did not deny having visited the area during his four-year stint in Thailand.

"I don't think there are many people here who haven't been in places like Soi Cowboy at some point. My last visit was a year ago," Britain's Guardian newspaper reported him as saying.

He was also quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying: "I'm not going to complain that I've never been [to the red light district].

"But at the same time, the suggestion that I'm some sort of upholder of the sex trade in Bangkok... It's pathetic, frankly."

In his first blog, he wrote about the "highs and lows with this magical country, Thailand".

"As the saying goes, no one remembers their last headache.

"As the new dawn sun washes over Bangkok each day, I watch Thais go about their business with modesty and calm, paying respect to gods and spirits along the way, smiling," he wrote.

Code of conduct

Thousands of readers viewed his blogs, leading to discussions on a range of issues, including football.

However, some posts claimed to be authored by the diplomat himself, and others by Mr Tuptim.

Readers also used the blog to criticise Mr Proud and British diplomats in general, while others complained about a difficulty in getting visas.

It appears that some of the worst comments were deleted before the blog was withdrawn, as some readers were later complaining about missing posts.

Blog-tracking firm Technorati estimates that every day 100,000 new blogs are created and 1.3 million posts made.

It has prompted calls for a bloggers' code of conduct, although supporters would prefer it to be achieved through self-regulation rather than government regulation.


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