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ICANN to Conduct Workshop on Label Generation Panel for Thai Script

Thai community one step closer to a global, multilingual Internet

Bangkok, Thailand… The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is conducting a workshop in Bangkok this week to introduce the ICANN Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) program, hosted by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency of Thailand (ETDA). The workshop will gather Thai experts from policy, technical and linguistic fields, to form a Label Generation Panel (LGR) that will determine rules to form valid top-level domains in Thai script.

To pave the way for local Thai communities to come online using domain names in local languages, it is necessary to ensure that different scripts are effectively supported. This requires local community participation.

"IDNs are domain names represented by letters or characters from different scripts and writing systems. They offer the possibility of using the domain names in languages across the globe, including, Thai, Chinese, Hindi, and others. Thus providing a truly multilingual Internet with greater flexibility and opportunities for billions of users," said Sarmad Hussain, ICANN's Senior Manager for IDN Program.

"ICANN looks forward to the active participation of the Thai expert community members to determine the rules for formulating valid top-level domain labels in Thai script. This work will form the basis for allowing complete domain names in the Thai language," said Rinalia Abdul Rahim, an ICANN board member. "I would like to thank ETDA for their partnership, and to the Thai community experts, whose work will pave the way for more Thai people to get online using the Thai script and language."

Each Generation Panel is comprised of a Chair and a number of community representatives, as well as members with technical expertise in the following areas: Domain Name System, IDN, Unicode and linguistics of the relevant script, such as Thai script.

"As you may know, most Thai people are not familiar with using the English language in daily life. Developing rules for IDN top-level domains for the Thai script is a breakthrough of the language barrier for Thai people, so that they are able to access the Internet in Thai script," said Surangkana Wayuparb, CEO of ETDA. "The Royal Thai Government has announced that by 2017, Thailand will be a digital economic society. In this regard, ETDA takes the lead on soft infrastructure for the country needs to ensure that Thailand could achieve this goal as a digital economy society. This means that we need to ensure that the digital divide due to language barriers will be reduced. We believe that this is a game changer for the future of the Internet for Thailand."

"The two-day workshop will start tomorrow among Thai experts facilitated by ICANN staff. The action plan will be laid out step by step to ensure that we are able to implement the Thai LGR project effectively and timely," said Surangkana Wayuparb, who is also the proposed Chair of the new Thai LGR panel.

Going forward, the group attending the workshop will submit a proposal to ICANN to form the Thai Label Generation Panel.  

Currently, for the Asia region, Generation Panels have been formed for Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, Khmer and Neo-Brahmi scripts and writing systems.

ICANN recently conducted similar workshops for communities in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The Khmer script community formed its Generation Panel in June following the workshop and has started forming rules for valid top-level domain labels for the Khmer script. Comments from the Khmer and Lao community leaders can be found in the press kit.

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For more information on IDNs, please visit: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/idn-2012-02-25-en

Media Contacts

Liana Teo
Head of Communications, Asia Pacific
Singapore
Tel: +65 6808 6669
Email: liana.teo@icann.org

James Cole
Global Media Coordinator
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1 202 733 7598
Email: james.cole@icann.org


About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."