After some deliberation, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has finally approved the .cat domain, which although not always openly discussed, is causing a bit of a stir in other regions of Spain. The .cat domain—not to be confused with .ct, which would be a regional domain for Catalunya—is a new domain specifically for websites in the Catalan language.
This domain is first on a global level to represent a cultural and linguistic group, an exceptional event, which the Catalan culture can be legitimately proud of”, stated the PuntCat association, a promotional organization, in an official press release on its Web site.
While this news seems like giant leap forward for the web’s multicultural makeup, there is of course, an interesting twist. Internationalized domains are stirring up a heated debate. There are other regions in Spain that speak their own languages, other than Spanish, take Euskara (Basque Country) or Gallego (Galicia) for instance. Galicia, who has its own nationalist feelings, has been claiming rights to a similar linguistic/cultural domain. In fact, about 2 weeks ago the National Galician Block (BNG) party accused the national government of not supporting demands of their own domain which, according to Francisco Rodriguez of BNG, “contributes to a symbolic-cultural and linguistic space necessary to exist in a globalized world.” He also added that the Galician language needs to receive recognition to help Galician internet users identify.
According to the latest news releases, now that the .cat domain has been approved, the Galician government as already petitioned for their own domain.
The question is of course: This was Spain, now what’s next? Of course deeming important our cultural diversity is definitely a good thing. But are we going to see all groups who identify as having their own unique culture or language rewarded with a unique domain as a sign of recognition?
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