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Brief Published: 17 Mar 2020

Reporters Without Borders Fight Censorship via Minecraft

International NGO Reporters Without Borders marked World Day Against Cyber Censorship (March 12) by revealing a virtual library of censored news coverage – hidden in online sandbox game Minecraft.

Many nations suppress freedom of press, but most allow free access to Minecraft's game servers. Now, players can visit The Uncensored Library, the vast in-game space to access republished articles from journalists who have been jailed, exiled or even killed for their work.

The library currently has wings dedicated to banned reportage from Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, as well as information on the state of free speech across 180 countries. The game map has space for additional future wings. At launch, the library holds 200 works, and will continue to publish new articles.

With 145 million global active players, Minecraft is still one of the most popular games in the world. Its servers are a social space, and as such it can provide alternative avenues to spread information and build community. As live events are postponed to slow down the spread of Covid-19, online game servers' ability to handle large amounts of traffic makes them a prime option for brand activations, like Disney's Star Wars event (see Tapping into Pop Culture's Tentpole Moments) or Wendy's Keeping Fortnite Fresh campaign.

To read about how memes are being put to work to battle misinformation around the Covid-19 pandemic, check out Creative Content: Social Subversion & Crisis Memes. For more on the blending of physical and digital gaming experiences, look out for our upcoming report Gaming Goes IRL.