The Church of England has sold its shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation because of ethical concerns about the scandal-hit US-based media giant.
The mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion said it had sold its $2.9 million stake because it was not convinced by News Corp's efforts to reform its corporate governance.
News Corp has been hit by a wave of scandal, from the phone-hacking row which caused the closure of the News of the World tabloid last year to further allegations of corruption at its British newspaper empire.
"The Church of England first raised concerns with the board of News Corporation in the aftermath of the phone-hacking allegations that surfaced in July 2011," the Church of England said in a statement.
"After a year of dialogue between the company and the EIAG (the church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group), the Church of England was not satisfied that News Corporation had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform."
Andrew Brown, Secretary of the Church Commissioners, said the decision was "not taken lightly".
The Church of England said it already excludes investment in companies involved in military products and services, pornography, alcoholic drinks, gambling, tobacco, human embryonic cloning and high interest rate lending.
The church has three national investment bodies — the Church Commissioners for England, the Church of England Pensions Board, and the CBF Church of England Funds — which together hold assets worth more than 8 billion pounds.
Other News Corp. shareholders have expressed concerns about the effect the scandals at Murdoch's British papers will have on the wider business of the media giant.
A journalist from The Sun, Murdoch's market-leading British daily tabloid, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of making corrupt payments to police officers.