Macau's Basic Law protects the freedom of the press, free expression and freedom of movement. The special administrative region claims to uphold these rights. Yet, this newspaper's photographer, Felix Wong Chi-keung, was on Wednesday barred from entering the city to exercise his professional duties. The decision is unjustified and can only be condemned. No explanation has been provided, other than that the refusal to allow Wong to enter was made in accordance with Macau's internal security laws. There has been no apology. Officials have spoken only of the right of Macau to administer its immigration regulations. Journalist associations have joined this newspaper in objecting to this serious breach of the freedom of the press. Wong had already been granted approval by authorities to cover the trial of Macau's disgraced former secretary for transport and public works Ao Man-long. He had visited Macau on January 11 without incident. But this time, after having his identity card examined by immigration officers, he was told he would have to return to Hong Kong. He was put on the next ferry back. This does not explain why our photographer could not go about his lawful work. It might indicate a tightening of security around the controversial Ao trial, but this is only speculation. Pan-democrat lawmakers from Hong Kong and members of the Falun Gong religious group have recently been refused entry to Macau, with security reasons being cited. More than 20 pan-democrats were denied permission to enter in December. Officials clearly maintain a blacklist of people they consider undesirable - yet deny that this exists. Many governments have internal security laws. They put them in place to keep out people who pose a threat to security and stability. Such a person would presumably be intent on committing an offence or would be considered likely to do so. There is nothing wrong with exercising such laws if a threat is genuinely perceived. But such laws are clearly being abused if they are used for purposes other than security. Our photographer was going about his work peacefully and in accordance with the law. He posed no threat to anyone in Macau. Nor do people of a particular political persuasion or religious faith necessarily threaten the peace. The freedoms that Macau's legal framework protects are being violated. Macau's officials should explain why Wong was denied entry. Vague references to the law only serve to heighten concerns about a tightening of the city's immigration policy. Macau's image has already suffered from the manner in which it has been applying its security laws; this will only worsen in international eyes if there continues to be a lack of transparency. In the absence of a reason, we can only speculate that the case may be linked to an incident in Beijing before the Olympic Games. Wong was photographing a scramble for tickets that had turned into a scuffle with police and he was detained for several hours after inadvertently hurting an officer. No crime was committed and the incident was amicably settled. Our photographer has since travelled unimpeded to the mainland and to Macau. Worrying questions have been raised. Macau's authorities must provide answers. Our photographer appears to be the first journalist to have been denied entry to cover an event in Macau. He and other bona fide colleagues in the media have to be given assurances that they will not be denied their legal rights in future.