The Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has objected to a number of generic top-level domain name (gTLD) applications.
The commission has deemed some of the proposed extensions–sought by applicants to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) gTLD program–inappropriate and “offensive.”
The CITC has filed objections with ICANN over a number of proposed strings–including .gay, .sex, .dating, .poker, .vodka.–as permitted during the gTLD consultation process.
Four different bodies are competing to run the .gay registry, which looks to be a key battleground in the coming months.
“Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion,” the Saudi body said in its submission.
“The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures. We respectfully request that ICANN refuse the application for this gTLD.”
But rights campaigners have strongly criticized the stance taken by the CITC.
A spokeswoman from The Lesbian and Gay Foundation said sites under .gay would be “carefully regulated” and “would not ‘promote homosexuality’ but offer crucial support.”
“Arguably it is even more important for people living in countries such as Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is illegal and sometimes punishable by death to access this crucial support and lifeline,” they stated.