Vietnam Security Forces Block Independent Journalist from Traveling to US

by Defend the Defenders, March 22, 2018

Security forces in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the biggest airport in Vietnam, have barred independent journalist Bui Minh Quoc, vice president of unsanctioned Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, from taking a flight to the US.

Security officers in the airport stopped him at the border gate on March 20, saying he could not leave the country for national security reasons. Lieutenant Nguyen Hai Nam informed the veteran poet that he is in the list of people banned from going abroad.

Mr. Quoc said he was on his way to the US to attend the graduation ceremony of his son who finished his PhD program in Maryland University.

Three years ago, he travelled to the US to visit his son without meeting any troubles from the Vietnamese immigration authorities, he told Defend the Defenders.

The Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam works for the right to freedom of press, with its website namely Viet Nam Thoi bao (

Many of its managers and members, including President Pham Chi Dung and Vice President Nguyen Tuong Thuy, have been harassed by Vietnam’s authorities.

Along with being under close surveillance and placed de facto under house arrest, IJAVN’s members have been assaulted by thugs while their private residences were attacked with dirty messes. Its website has also been under cyber attacks in many times.

Together with the website of Defend the Defenders (, the website of IJAVN has also been under collateral protection of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Vietnam was ranked at the 175th place out of 179 countries in the 179 countries in the RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Mr. Quoc is among over 100 Vietnamese activists not permitted by authorities to leave the country, according to Defend the Defenders’ counting.