‘Overworked’ Media Worker Who Died at His Desk Sparks Probe in Thailand

‘Overworked’ Media Worker Who Died at His Desk Sparks Probe in Thailand

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Thailand has launched a probe into the death of a media worker who died at his desk from a heart attack, after allegedly working overtime for extended periods.

Labor minister Suchart Chomklin ordered an investigation this week into the death of the 44-year-old man on Feb. 4 after the case prompted outrage among staff and other media workers.

According to local media, the senior officer had been overseeing programming at Thai News Network, a media subsidiary of telecoms giant True Corp Pcl. There are reports he worked frequent overtime, only returning home about 2 to 3 a.m. in the morning, six days a week.

The Thai Journalists Association alleged in a statement Monday that the man had died after consecutive days of hard work.

“Currently, the media industry still has a work culture that is vulnerable to many cases of violations in labor laws,” Teeranai Charuvastra, the association’s vice president, said in the statement. “This is a problem that people working in the media industry have always known about. But it still happens all the time.”

TNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg News. Local media cited a statement from TNN expressing condolences for the incident and committing to pay 24 months of the employee’s salary and relevant insurance payouts to his family. It also offered to pay for his funeral costs.

The labor ministry said that authorities were “urgently” looking into the facts of the case. If an employer fails to ensure an employee works less than 36 hours of overtime a week, and doesn’t provide at least one rest day a week, he or she will be liable for penalties including a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,000), six months of imprisonment, or both, it said.

–With assistance from Pathom Sangwongwanich.

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