SEAJU calls for recognition of Labour laws and ‘right to form’ in Thailand

The South East Asia Journalist Unions (SEAJU) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have called for urgent attention to the current labor situation facing journalists in Thailand and attempts to block journalists in their right to advocacy and to form and join a union.  Thai journalists have been operating under hostile and imposing working conditions in 2014, with the country in political turmoil and with increasing pressures placed on media operations since the Thai military took over the country in a coup d’état in May this year.The SEAJU and IFJ have criticized the welfare and safety of journalists across Thailand and their poor treatment by media organisations and have united to support the National Union of Journalists, Thailand (NUJT) and its right to advocate on behalf of journalists.SEAJU said: “We condemn the actions by media organisations in Thailand who have taken the tactic of opposing journalists unions working to improve the working conditions.“In recent years, many Thai journalists have been the subject of poor treatment by their media organisations due to insufficient protection for their safety and welfare issues. Journalists have increasing difficulties in accessing welfare, health support and fair working conditions and contracts. The unstable political environment in Thailand continues to weaken the media environment, making it unsafe and challenging for journalists to do their work.”At its annual network meeting in Malaysia this week, SEAJU supported the NUJT in its calls for media organisations across Thailand to support the ‘right to form’ for journalists and work to better improve their safety and welfare.The President of the NUJT, Sumeth Somkanae, said some media organizations had set up their own house unions, but there were still many cases where media owners were opposing the unions and blocking journalists’ right to organize and advocate.The NUJT urged media organisations to stop violating the labour rights of the media workers.Sumeth Somkanae said: “Media organisations must also ensure that joining the union will not jeopardize a journalist’s position within the organization, nor should they be discriminated for that involvement or union activity.”The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said: “Journalists in Thailand continue to face a number of challenges including safety and welfare issues that hamper their efforts to undertake their job. We call on the Government of Thailand and media organisations across the country to support journalists in their ‘right to form’, rather than hindering their efforts.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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