- 'Uncensored Library' being used to exploit censorship loopholes
- Over 4000 players from 75 countries have used it to access banned articles
Censorship and those bypassing it have always been a cat and mouse game. Where now the tools available to censors have never been more advanced, the same can be said about clever methods used to bypass them. Games like Minecraft are being used to get information out of closely guarded regions in South Asia.
The current lockdown has made 2020 a tough year for the freedom of the press. With the public health crises being used by authoritarian governments to increase press control and scrutiny. Governments in Cambodia, Myanmar and even Singapore are using the lockdown to add further restrictions on the press and get the media under government control.
Minecraft’s ‘Uncensored Library’ Paves the Way
In March, Reporters without Borders came out with ‘Uncensored Library’ in Minecraft. It is a catalogue of banned articles buried deep within the game which uses a loophole to bypass online censorship. This library can be accessed by players in countries where freedom of the press is being limited.
The idea was the collective effort of a lot of Minecraft communities from around the world. The library itself took 24 people from 16 different countries to construct. It took a total of 250 hours to design and build, and in the first month of opening, nearly 4000 players from 75 countries had visited the library reading prohibited articles from Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
Whilst 4000 players may not sound like a huge win for media freedom, it does reveal the innovative methods available to bypass even the most repressive of regimes. Minecraft was chosen because of its widespread availability and the fact that the game isn’t censored like some other games which are under suspicion of being political. People even began using innovative ways to encrypt messages using fictional languages such as Klingon from Star Trek and Sindarin from The Lord of the Rings.