Using blocks to unblock the news

When a library opened in Minecraft, it was the first time a computer game had been used to combat press censorship.

It’s World Press Freedom Day on May 3, but let’s file a story well ahead of the deadline by praising an initiative that allows access to censored articles via an online game. The project launched only last month – before people were forced to stay at home and access libraries only via their laptops. Created by DDB Berlin and MediaMonks for Reporters Without Borders, The “Uncensored Library” is an open library within Minecraft, a hugely popular game with over 145 million players a month. It gives people access to articles and independent information that is unavailable in countries with heavy press censorship – and where journalists sometimes fear for their lives. While their blogs and websites are blocked, Minecraft remains open. So now journalists from Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Russia have a place to speak out. 

Über DDB Berlin

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DDB and MediaMonks build “The Uncensored Library”- a press censorship loophole in Minecraft

An open library inside an open world game to overcome censorship for NGO Reporters Without Borders

 

            •           The first time a computer game has been used to overcome press censorship

             •           With more than 145 million players every month Minecraft is one of the most influential video games to exist

             •           Journalists from Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Russia, despite having been banned, jailed, exiled and even killed – now have a place to make their voices heard again. 

 

On March 12 – World Day Against Cyber Censorship –  press freedom NGO, Reporters Without Borders, opens The Uncensored Library  giving global access to independent information - even in countries rife with censorship. The press censorship loophole is made by creative agency DDB Berlin in collaboration with digital production powerhouse, MediaMonks.

The Uncensored Library gives young people - especially in countries experiencing heavy press censorship - access to independent information, through the world’s most successful video game, Minecraft - a medium which is accessible to anyone.

In many countries, the information you access online is controlled and limited by oppressive leaders and regimes. This control can take many forms: blocking websites, deleting articles - and in some instances worse; imprisoning journalists and even killing them. In countries, where websites, blogs and free press in general are strictly limited, Minecraft – with more than 145 million players every month – is still accessible for everyone.

 

Minecraft offers unlimited freedom even in countries where there is no press freedom

NGO Reporters Without Borders has used this backdoor to build The Uncensored Library,  accessible on an open server for Minecraft players around the globe and now filled with books, containing articles censored in the country of their origin.

These articles are now available again within Minecraft – hidden from government surveillance technologies. The books can be read by anyone and their content cannot be changed. Moreover, the library is growing, with new books being added every week.

Tobias Natterer, Senior Copywriter DDB:

“The fascination of Minecraft is an open world, that gives you a feeling of unlimited freedom and the ability to create unimaginable things out of blocks. We used the creative possibilities of this game to bring censored articles back into oppressive countries.”

Robert-Jan Blonk, Interactive Producer, MediaMonks:

 

“It has been incredible to be part of a project which overcomes press censorship in such an ingenious way. To use a video game to publish articles, and to overcome press censorship is a brilliant  way to help address this issue among a younger audience. Some of the consequences they may not be as much aware of, as they might think.” 

Censored articles become uncensored books within Minecraft.

Journalists from Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Russia, despite having been banned, jailed, exiled and even killed – now have a place to make their voices heard again. Books will be republished in English and in their original language. Arabic articles will also be available as an audio file. In addition to banned articles, visitors can find a report on the current press freedom situation of 180 countries in the world.

Christian Mihr, Managing Director Reporters Without Borders Germany:

“In many countries around the world, there is no open access to information. Websites are blocked, independent newspapers are banned and the press is controlled by the state. Young people grow up without being able to form their own opinions. By using Minecraft, the world’s most popular computer game, as a medium, we give them access to independent information.“

An open library inside an open world game to overcome censorship.

The Uncensored Library raises awareness for the importance of press freedom. All with the goal of empowering the next generation to stand up for their right to information and to give them a powerful tool to fight oppressive leaders: knowledge.