Sky News has admitting hacking the email accounts of members of the public to research stories, following allegations made by a Guardian report.
The satellite news channel, part owned by News Corp, says the hacks were authorised by senior editorial staff during the infamous "canoe man" case of 2008.
In a blog post on Thursday, Sky defended the decision, claiming the invasion of private accounts was 'editorially justified' and 'in the public interest' and that the information was passed on to the police.
The story of the canoe man
The story involved husband and wife John and Anne Darwin, who picked up a life insurance payout when the former faked his own death in 2002 and emigrated to Panama.
The Sky reporter discovered, by hacking the family's emails, that Anne Darwin was in cahoots with her husband, something that could harm her defense during her trial for deception.
Sky said in the blog post: "After careful consideration, Sky News granted permission because we believed the story was justified in the public interest. None of the material obtained was broadcast prior to the conviction and our coverage made clear that we had discovered and supplied emails to the police.
"There has been no attempt by Sky News to conceal these facts, which have been available on our website ever since. To be absolutely clear, we stand by these actions as editorially justified."
Finely balanced judgement
The broadcaster, partly owned by Rupert Murdoch, also added that the case highlighted tensions between the law and investigative journalism and also claimed it had the backing of the BBC.
The blog post added: "These cases are a demonstration of the tensions that can arise between the law and responsible investigative journalism. At Sky News, we do not take such decisions lightly or frequently. Each and every time, they require finely balanced judgement based on individual circumstances. They must always be subjected to the proper editorial oversight."
Sky also accused the Guardian of double standards, noting the newspaper and its sister publication The Observer's phone-hacking past.
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