The Uncensored Library


On March 12, the "World Day Against Cyber Censorship," The Uncensored Library opened its doors to the millions of Minecraft users.

Since it's creation, Minecraft has established itself as a cultural phenomenon for many reasons: it's creative, collaborative, and considered accessible to pretty much anybody. The Reporters Without Borders' Uncensored Library is a virtual hub housing a collection of otherwise inaccessible journalism from all over the globe, with sections devoted to Russia, Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.

The idea was initially conceived as a collaborative concept between the German marketing agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) and the German branch of Reporters Without Borders. The library provides access to independent information to young people through a medium they can playfully interact with. Journalists from the five countries, as mentioned earlier, now have a place to make their voices heard, despite having been banned, jailed, exiled, and even killed. Their forbidden articles were republished in books within Minecraft, giving readers the chance to inform themselves about real political situations in their countries and learn the importance of freedom of the press.

The library is a neo-classical complex said to boast a remarkably impressive scale, and due to its said size, teleports have been put in place so visitors can avoid tedium while exploring.

The censored journalists featured include Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia), Yulia Berezovskaia (Russia), Nguyen Van Dai (Vietnam), Javier Valdez (Mexico), and Mada Masr (Egypt). As of now, there are only a handful of articles at present, but there are also numerous documents that describe the state of press freedom and oppression in 180 countries.

The server is not secure and private, like end-to-end encrypted group chats. A user accessing the library has their nickname, tied to a Minecraft account, visible to other users, and their logs would reflect their visit to the server. It is unlikely, but not impossible that Microsoft would give up that information to a government, but there is an absolute risk involved. Fortunately, private duplicate servers can be and already are being established, as well as local copies.

The Uncensored Library now stands as proof of the concept that information does not need to be delivered through traditional means, to have a potential impact. Since Minecraft is one of the most popular games globally, it can be further be used as an informational and promotional platform, as well as a fun place to hang out and build structures. 

Minecraft players can freely access the library by entering "visit.uncensoredlibrary.com" in the server browser.

Elissar Zabaneh

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