The son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch has called the British Broadcasting Corp. a threat to independent journalism.

James Murdoch, the 36-year-old executive in charge of News Corp.'s businesses in Europe and Asia, spoke late Friday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival — 20 years after his father delivered a keynote speech at the same event.

"In this all-media marketplace, the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy," Murdoch said.

The BBC is subsidized by the British government and funded, in part, by television licenses that consumers must pay if they use a television.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. controls British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, one of the BBC's main competitors in Britain.

"As Orwell foretold, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion," Murdoch said, referring to George Orwell's book "1984."