BANGKOK — After a four-year dispute, Thailand’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower-court ruling that free-to-air web iTV, part-owned by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s family, must reinstate 21 news staff sacked in 2001 for forming a union.
The court found the dismissals were unlawful and ordered the broadcaster to pay the former employees wages dating back to the day they were fired.
Some of the journalists were sacked for criticizing management for allegedly interfering in editorial content to favor Shinawatra’s ruling Thai Rak Thai Party.
Others were let go during restructuring after the Shinawatra family’s Shin Corp. acquired a major stake in the company.
The court’s March 8 ruling has boosted morale in the media, which has complained about government intervention.
Karuna Buakhamsri, one of the 21 workers, says the verdict upholds the freedom of the press.