Saudi Arabia objects to .gay, .wine and other proposed gTLDs

ICANN has meanwhile extended the period for submitting objections to Sept. 26

Saudi Arabia objected this week to a variety of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) ranging from .porn and .sexy to .wine and .bar and .bible, according to records of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The organization said in June it had received 1,930 applications for gTLD "strings", of which 911 came from North America and 675 from Europe. It has extended the period for comments on applications by 45 days to Sept. 26.

Saudi Arabia's Communication and Information Technology Commission, the IT and communications regulator, has objected to the .gay string and asked ICANN to refuse the application for the new gTLD. "Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion," CITC said. "The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures," it added.

The about 160 comments on behalf of Saudi Arabia were made by one "Abdulmjid" who is stated to be affiliated to the CITC.

The board of directors of ICANN approved in June last year an increase in the number of gTLDs from the current 22, which will potentially create new TLDs including in non-Latin, and non-English scripts.

The CITC of Saudi Arabia also objected to the .sucks string, stating that it considers there is a risk that the string is used in the same way as .XXX to host pornographic websites, which is also the ground for its objection to some other strings like .baby. The proposed domain would increase the prevalence of offensive language on the Web, and in turn the exposure of the people including children to profanities, it said about the .sucks string.

CITC is opposed to .wine because the gTLD string promotes "substances detrimental to public order and morals and prohibited in a number of religions and cultures."

The Saudis also objected to the .Shia string which refers to the name of a Muslim sect, stating that it believes that any and all gTLD applications for any name in relation to a specific community should be presented to the whole of that community for evaluation before an application is denied or granted.

"If this cannot be accomplished then such names should be restricted completely from being used as gTLD's," it said.

Saudi Arabia adopts a similar argument while demanding the rejection of the .catholic string, separately claiming that the Catholic Church shouldn't control the gTLD.

People from other countries have also complained about some of the proposed gTLDs, for example about the use of the .patagonia gTLD which is said to be the name of a geographical region, and should not be assigned to a private company.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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