Inside Minecraft’s Hidden Library of Banned Journalism

The library spotlights work by writers from 5 nations

LIbrary
Reporters Without Borders has opened an ambitious library of suppressed journalism within Minecraft.
Reporters without borders
By Tobias Carroll / March 14, 2020 2:14 pm

Minecraft is a place where you can build absurdly ornate structures and even create a computer within a program. But those are not the only ways one can be inventive within Minecraft. The group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced a bold initiative recently — one that uses the openness of Minecraft’s platform to get around restrictions that authoritarian governments have placed on certain works of journalism. And it’s all housed in an ornately-designed (virtual) building.

CNN’s Amy Woodyatt has the story. The project is a joint venture of RSF, design group Blockworks, DDB Germany and MediaMonks. It debuted on Thursday, as part of the World Day Against Cyber Censorship.

In a virtual library found in Minecraft — a game where users can build virtual worlds out of blocks and create their own storylines — users can access the work of journalists who have been killed, jailed or exiled by governments, including articles by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

RSF’s own page on the library provides more specifics. The library covers work from Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia, Egypt and Vietnam — all nations that rank very low on the RSF World Press Freedom Index.

The articles made available in the virtual library are reprinted in both English and in the original language in which they were written. One fun fact, from RSF’s announcement of the project: “The library’s main dome is nearly 300 metres wide, which would make it the second largest in the world.”

It’s a structure that you might want to spend time in regardless of its mission — but its mission is a vitally important one. Hopefully this initiative will allow suppressed work to find its intended audience in an unorthodox way.

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