According to a press release out today, BRS Media, has filed, in conjunction with two other applicants, an Independent Review Process in accordance with Article IV, section 3 of the ICANN Bylaws re: The .RADIO gTLD and .RADIO Community Priority Evaluation Results.
Although not mentioned in the press release the other two applicants are Afilias and Donuts.
“”On Sept. 10, 2014 ICANN announced that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) Results “Prevailed” with the bare minimum score of 14 points. (http://www.icann.org/sites/default/files/tlds/radio/radio-cpe-1-1083-39123-en.pdf)
For the reasons set out below, the opinion is that the Community Priority Evaluation panel incorrectly applied the standards set out in section 4.2.3 (Community Priority Evaluation Criteria) of the Applicant Guidebook.
Some of the Highlights included:
Community Establishment Delineation: the CPE Panel quoted: “Internet radios are also part of the Radio community, and as such will be acknowledged by .radio TLD, as will podcasters. In all cases certain minimum standards on streaming or updating schedules will apply.”
There are no such “minimum standards on streaming.” Additionally, according to Wikipedia; “Podcasting contrasts with Internet streaming.” Meaning, podcasters would not meet ANY standards on streaming.
Enforcement: the CPE Panel noted that the application satisfied by applying: “Enforcement program based on random checks” and the applicant noted they “will adapt the practices according to the experience gained”
As ICANN itself has demonstrated with the dramatic change in Whois Accuracy Program Enforcement, in the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (2013 RAA), random checks with experience gained is not a specific enforcement measure, and represents nothing more than a largely unrestricted approach to eligibility.
Opposition: the CPE Panel noted: “application received letters of opposition, which were determined not to be relevant,”
However, the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC), Economic and Social Council to the United Nations Secretary General, response to ICANN clearly noted valid relevant opposition from one group of non-negligible size. The detailed response here.
Support: the CPE Panel noted: “the applicant possesses documented support from institutions/organizations representing a majority of the community addressed”
However, as a case in point, the EBU’s sister Broadcast Unions signed identical supporting form letters:
NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) – Full membership is only available to radio network broadcasters in North America and NOT the thousands of local broadcast radio stations in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union) – Full Members may be only two full members in any one country, NOT the thousands of local broadcast radio stations in the Asia-Pacific region.
ASBU (Arab States Broadcasting Union) – Active Members includes only radio organizations appointed by Arab member-states to act as their representative, and NOT the independent radio broadcasters in the Arab region.
Organización de Televisión Iberoamericana (OTI) represents ONLY Television Networks, and has NO radio members.
Clearly none of these EBU sister unions represent a majority of the community addressed as Radio in their respective regions and one, OTI has NO radio members, but according to its form endorsement: “Our Union is involved in radio and television broadcasting…,” which is dubious at best and should have raised questions about all such endorsements.
George T. Bundy, Chairman & CEO of BRS Media Inc. is quoted as saying:
“Given the facts that the evaluators accepted ‘minimum standards on streaming,’ ‘random checks’ as a specific enforcement measure, failed to acknowledge non-negligible size opposition, and inaccurately claimed adequate support representing the majority of the ‘community brings into question the competency of the CPE process.
“From day one, we have drawn attention to the timing of the EBU submitting the .RADIO application, then the very next ICANN Meeting in Prague on June 28, 1012, was welcomed as a member of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). No other GAC Members or Observers are a direct applicant for a contested generic string in ICANN’s New TLD Application process, like the EBU. This direct GAC-EBU ‘Conflict of Interest’ continues to exist today. Now, with questionable evaluation (CPE) results, one has to ask, was the evaluation handled within the (Community Priority Evaluation) Criteria of the Applicant Guidebook, or were there outside influences involved in getting the EBU the exact 14 points to Prevail?”
ICANN’s claims of operating under an open “Accountability & Transparency” policy are at best questionable. Since the Community Priority Evaluation process is “shrouded in secrecy,” it is neither accountable nor transparent, and warrants a complete Independent Review Process.
BRS Media is the registry for the .AM and the .FM ccTLD’s