Reporters Without Borders said the refusal of a magazine wholesaler owned by Televisa to distribute the August issue of Zocalo magazine, which carried an article critical of the media giant, amounted to censorship.

"Distribution company Intermex failed to supply copies of issue 150 to more than 160 branches of the Sanborn's chain of stores, a major magazine retailer. The apparent circulation boycott affected sales of an edition whose cover story focused on the political power of Televisa," the Paris-based press rights group, known as RSF, said.

The press rights organization asked that Zocalo be given the undistributed issues and paid compensation for its lost sales.

"Failure to distribute is a form of censorship," RSF said. "Unfortunately, this is not the first recent case."

Two issues of the weekly Proceso magazine were were not distributed to newstands operated by the Soriana chain, "which had reportedly played a role in alleged electoral fraud on behalf of the Revolutionary Institutional Party - the PRI - whose candidate was declared the winner. Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to take office on 1 December," RSF said.

"If Televisa is found definitively to have played a role, these actions would amount to a violation of the Mexican constitution," RSF said. "Have we returned, even before 1 December, to the time of 'perfect dictatorship,' when the ruling party and its economic allies decided which publications could be distributed?"

The press rights group called for an independent investigation of the blocked magazine deliveries.

"Zocalo editor Carlos Padilla said he had no doubt that the blocked distribution episodes were a response to critical coverage of the country's television 'duopoly' of Televisa and TV Azteca," RSF said. EFE