Virtual library in Minecraft provides refuge to banned journalists

Freedom of press is foundational to a free society. Which is exactly why oppressive governments block access to independent journalism. But while critical voices and international news sites might be fenced off, Minecraft is freely accessible.

So Reporters without Borders built a library inside the game. In rooms dedicated to countries where journalists are routinely censored, The Uncensored Library features banned articles that can be read in the original language or in English. Some are also available as audiobooks.

When it launched in March 2020, the library included rooms for Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Vietnam; Belarus and Brazil were added this year. The countries weren't just selected for their low levels of press freedom, but also high usage of Minecraft.

Reporters without Borders worked with Minecraft design agency BlockWorks to create The Uncensored Library, an ambitious project built with 12.5 million blocks by 24 builders in 16 countries.

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Minecraft has around 140 million active players worldwide. Not only is The Uncensored Library a smart circumvention of censorship, it's also a way to reach younger audiences that use games as much for social interaction as for entertainment. While Minecraft's tiny, pixelated books don't lend themselves to long reads, they are a way to expose a new generation to the crucial role of a free press. Games for good, FTW!

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