The license fee of £159 ($220) per household, which helps to keep the BBC commercial-free, makes up the bulk of the public broadcaster’s income.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society convention at Cambridge on Wednesday, Sharp said that media inflation is currently at 9%. “There would be serious consequences for a poorly funded BBC,” Sharp said, adding that the amount was good value and delivered “insight, education, children’s” at a price point “that people can afford.”
Addressing the ongoing debate about the privatization of Channel 4, Sharp described it as a “local issue.” The executive said that there would be a “consequence” of privatization but “I think that’s part of some of the bigger trends which are more consequential to the BBC than that.”
Sharp also stressed the role of the BBC in keeping news impartial. “Free access to accurate impartial news is essential as a key factor in building up resistance against the harmful effects of fake news,” Sharp said, adding that the broadcaster has a major national and global role as a “force for good.”
Sharp also called for the U.K. Communications Act 2003 to be replaced with modern legislation fit for the digital age and say now is the time to introduce greater protections to safeguard future generations.
“There are urgent questions to be answered about the future media world we want to live in,” Sharp said. “We need to rethink the regulatory environment in this country – and replace a Communications Act that pre-dates Facebook with one that can deliver on a clear vision.”
“Do we need to claim our personal data as a human right, rather than an asset to be bought and sold? Now is the time to put in place the rights, protections and education that will safeguard –- not just our media environment –- but the stability of our societies and democracies long into the future.”