Campaigning for a Welsh cultural and linguistic domain

dotCYM shuts its doors

dotCYM is currently going through the process of dissolving. The Members voted in the AGM to close the company since there is no reason for the continuation of the company after the Welsh Government gave ownership of the Welsh name and brand online to a private English company that’s not answerable to the Welsh people.

On many occassions we warned Ieuan Wyn Jones, the ex-Minister responsible for a top-level domain for Wales, that the Welsh civil servants and the Labour Party would give the domain to Nominet the second he lost his position if he didn’t take steps to ensure that a Welsh organisation, answerable to the Welsh people, was responsible for the domain.

“After four years of Plaid Cymru with power over us and doing nothing positive to help, Edwina Hart became Minister.” says Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, ex-director of dotCYM, “Nominet were given the nod to move in and we had no hope against a large company that was being helped by many a Welsh person to take such an important resource away from the country. It makes no difference whether Labour or Plaid Cymru are in power, there is no interest in social enterprises, especially if there is talk of benefitting the culture or language as a part of the venture.”

With only two volunteer working in their spare time with dotCYM, it was possible to run the enterprise but impossible to fight against Nominet, the Welsh civil servants, the Welsh Government, Darran Hill and his PR company, and Ieuan Evans and other members of Nominet’s Wales Advisory Group.

According to Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, “We would meet with Welsh politicians in Cardiff and London and Nominet and a member of the Wales Advisory Group had already met with all of them lying about dotCYM by saying that we only wanted to create a domain for Welsh speaker, ignoring the rest of the Welsh people and businesses. This was a complete lie and they knew this, but with only enough time to meet a handful of politicians and no money to fight Nominet with the law it was impossible to stop their lies and PR machine. Every politician which I met supported us after they became aware of the truth but I didn’t have the time to meet enough of them.

It didn’t take Nominet long to show their lack of respect to Wales. They created a website for their .cymru and .wales domains and used Google Translate to tranlate the English content to Wales. The news story can be seen here.

In order to try to understand why Welsh civil servants would be so determined to ensure that Wales lost ownership and control of their domain we made a Freedon of Information request for all the communication between Nominet and the civil servants. The request was refused due to the rist that some people would be unhappy with the information would it be released:

“A series of recent campaigns have focused on the role of the Welsh Government in the delivery of the top level domain names. An announcement has recently been made regarding the delivery of an application for top level domains for Wales. It is likely that the release of any further information at this time will give rise to further campaigns which are likely to cause damage to the delivery of a strong top level domain.

The relationship that the Welsh Government has with its stakeholders is central to delivering the outcomes of Digital Wales, such as reducing the impact of digital exclusion. Any publicity surrounding the creation of domain names carries the potential to damage relationships between the Welsh Government and business and community stakeholders. This will result in a situation in which stakeholders will be less likely to engage with the Welsh Government and this will put at risk the Welsh Government’s ability to deliver against the policy aims described in Delivering a Digital Wales.”

“The whole point of Freedom of Information is to have transparency in Government”, said Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, “It’s ridiculous that the government can keep this information from us due to the fact that they’re scared that people would be unhappy with it and may campaign as a result.”

The hope now is that the Information Commissioner will release this information when we take the matter further. Our hopes aren’t very high that the information would tell us as much as we had hoped after recent news that Nominet and British civil servants had been communicating by personal e-mail in order to avoid Freedom or Information requests. An article on the matter can be seen here.

We must remember that over the years dotCYM worked closely with similar enterprises in Scotland, Galicia, the Basque Country, Brittany and many other country and locations. Wales was the only one to decide that it had no interest in owning and controlling its name on the Internet. All the others have applied as local organisations answerable to their communities.

This chapter in our history is a disgrace to our Assembly, our civil service, the Labour Party and especially Plaid Cymru and its ‘modern’ politicians who have turned their backs on their country’s resources, culture and language.

dotCYM would like to thank everyone who supported us over the years. The website and Twitter (@dotcymru) will be updated and newsletters sent when we have more news, but the company, dotCYM Ltd, will now cease to exist.