Reporters Without Borders Builds Library in Minecraft to Fight Press Censorship
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Editors’ Choice: DDB and MediaMonks built an open library inside the open world game to give the world access to independent information
On March 12th – 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 at DDB Berlin said: “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 at MediaMonks said: “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 of Reporters Without Borders Germany added: “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.
Hatice Cengiz, journalist, scientist and fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi said: “We need to defend press freedom every day.”
The overall message of the campaign: "Truth will not be silenced. Truth always finds a way.”