The 20th anniversary celebrations of China’s resumption of sovereignty over Macau, including a visit from President Xi Jinping, has long been an event to watch on the media calendar. Amid political unrest in Hong Kong, the occasion has added interest here. Media organisations followed usual practice for such security-sensitive events by registering with the Macau government to send representatives to provide coverage. It came as a shock this week when Macau, a place that on paper at least shares with Hong Kong the core value of freedom of the press, denied entry to eight journalists from the city assigned to report on the celebrations, including one from this newspaper . The reason given was equally unexpected – that there were strong signs the journalists would engage in activities that would jeopardise safety and public order in Macau. This could not be true of the normal performance of their duties. Without an explanation, it was a generalised slur on their professionalism that rightly provoked strong reactions from their employers and media industry organisations. Post reporter denied entry into Macau to cover Xi Jinping’s visit On Wednesday, six journalists from RTHK, Commercial Radio, Now TV, TVB and Apple Daily were all denied entry after all, except one TVB journalist, had registered with the Macau government. On Tuesday, a reporter from this newspaper who had also registered was denied entry, one day after another Now TV journalist was barred. The Hong Kong news executives’ and journalists’ associations issued strong statements of regret over the incidents, with calls for an explanation and respect for press freedom. This newspaper strongly supports their sentiments. A visit by the head of state to one of the two special administrative regions is a rare and extraordinary event that prompts stepped up security. But that should include safeguarding media access that serves legitimate public interest, not inhibiting it. The celebrations are an event that resonates in Hong Kong and journalists have a responsibility to their readers to cover them. The Macau authorities need to explain how that raises security concerns that justify denial of entry, notwithstanding the principle of press freedom enshrined in the Basic Law of both cities. Without press freedom other rights are less protected against erosion.