Murdoch's News stocks fall in Australia
Shares in Rupert Murdoch's Australia-listed News Corporation fell 4.59 percent Tuesday, to their lowest point in more than 18 months as the British phone hacking scandal deepened.
As Australian Greens leader Bob Brown again called for an independent media watchdog to prevent a similar scandal at home, News Corp dropped 73 cents to close at Aus$15.19, its lowest finish since November 2009.
CMC Markets analyst Ben Le Brun said dealers were "selling first and asking questions later" amid reports that royalty and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown were targeted in the scandal, which felled the Sunday tabloid News of the World.
Adding to the firm's problems, the British government announced that Australian-born Murdoch's bid to take over cable giant BSkyB would be referred to the country's competition commission.
"As the story seems to have gotten worse... News Corporation shares have come down accordingly," Le Brun said. "It's not good times for News Corporation."
News Corp, which is also listed in New York and London, fell more than seven percent in Sydney on Monday as the fallout from claims that the News of the World hacked the phone of a child murder victim continued.
The share slump came as Brown called for an inquiry into journalism in Australia and a new independent body to oversee ethics in the industry.
"I do think in these days of huge potential for invasion of privacy we ought to have a watchdog," he told reporters in Tasmania.
Murdoch shut down The News of the World, Britain's biggest selling weekly newspaper, last week in a shock move amid allegations of widespread illegal hacking which have now spread to other titles in his empire. Its last edition was published on Sunday.
Police have told Brown that employees working for The Sun and Sunday Times had hacked his phone, accessed his personal bank account and uncovered his son's medical records when he was finance minister.
Royals, including Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, may also have been targeted by the News of the World, the Guardian newspaper in Britain said.
© 2011 AFP