The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) has called on media organizations to protect the labor rights of journalists, after a report surfaced of a schedule arranger at TV channel TNN who died at his desk from a heart attack – allegedly due to overwork.
According to Teeranai Charusavastra, the TJA’s vice president for press freedom and media reform, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) and the Labor Ministry are now investigating if the network’s working conditions comply with labor laws. They would also look into what measures are in place to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
Teeranai noted the pressure on media workers to put in long hours stems from competition among news agencies for higher ratings and greater engagement. He added that some media agencies might have certain work guidelines which could violate labor laws, including chronic overtime, working on holidays and insufficient rest.
The TJA and affiliated agencies are urging the NBTC, which has the authority to license agencies, to implement additional measures to prevent such situations from happening again in the future and to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Suwit Mingmol, Chairman of MCOT Public Co Ltd’s labor union, also suggested that private sector agencies be allowed to establish their unions in order to give workers more bargaining power.
After its founding in 2013, the National Union of Journalists (NUJT) has reportedly struggled to gain a significant number of members due to concerns over job security.
Many journalists are said to be reluctant to join due to fears of losing their jobs or facing other forms of retaliation from their employers. The issue has sparked debate within the industry, with some calling for greater protections for journalists and more concerted efforts to address the challenges facing the profession. (NNT)