New York, June 1, 2016–The U.S. Department of Justice must reopen an investigation into the cases of five Vietnamese-American journalists killed between 1981 and 1990, based on information uncovered by ProPublica and Frontline, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today during a press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.
When the FBI investigated the murders and other potentially politically motivated attacks in the Vietnamese-American community, it focused on the anti-communist group National United Front for the Liberation of Vietnam, also known as the Front, whose members were former military personnel from South Vietnam, according to a ProPublica/Frontline report. The FBI was unable to gather sufficient evidence to pursue prosecutions at the time.
“As a result of the new information revealed by ProPublica and Frontline, we urge the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into these murders” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Around the world, the unsolved killings of journalists creates an environment of fear and self-censorship. While journalists’ killings are rare in the United States, the same dynamic is at play. This is why those who seek to silence the press through violence can never be allowed to succeed.”
Simon spoke at the event alongside CPJ Program Director and Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría and Tu Nguyen, the son of Nguyen Dam Phong, a publisher and reporter murdered in 1982. A.C. Thompson, who examined the killings in “Terror in Little Saigon,” a ProPublica/Frontline documentary and Web series, provided details about his reporting.
CPJ first covered the murders in its 1994 report, “Silenced, The Unsolved Murders of Immigrant Journalists in the United States.” CPJ sent a letter to the Department of Justice on April 1, calling for action to end impunity in the cases.
CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.