LONDON (Reuters) - Sky News, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, has admitted hacking into emails on two occasions, saying on Thursday the actions had been justified and were in the public interest.
On one occasion, the news channel of British broadcaster BSkyB BSY.L authorised a journalist to access the emails of a man accused of faking his own death, which it said had helped the police successfully prosecute the case.
"Sky News is committed to the highest editorial standards. Like other news organisations, we are acutely aware of the tensions that can arise between the law and responsible investigative journalism," the head of Sky News, John Ryley, said in a statement.
"We stand by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest."
Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O) is the biggest shareholder in BSkyB with a 39 percent stake. BSkyB is the subject of scrutiny by Britain's broadcasting regulator as to whether its executives and owners make it a "fit and proper" owner of a broadcast licence.
Shares in BSkyB BSY.L, which had been trading 0.3 percent higher at 1230 GMT, were down 4.1 percent at 631 pence by 1257 GMT, making them the biggest faller on Britain's FTSE 100 index of blue chip stocks.
Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Paul Hoskins