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For many people, freedom of speech isn't a worry as it's considered a staple in their day-to-day lives. However, there is still a huge section of the world where freedom of speech is not recognized, and where governments censor their citizens — especially journalists.
In an innovative and creative way of getting the news out there, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) built a very special type of library that's able to reach millions — and it's built in Minecraft.
The Uncensored Library
Minecraft is an iconic online gaming platform that welcomes over 145 million players each month and it's now been turned into a freedom of speech platform for all of its users.
A virtual library has been built within Minecraft and hosts articles written by journalists which have been censored online in many countries. Each article has been meticulously selected and permissions were sought prior to these works being placed in the library.
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The project was created by RSF, and the library itself was built by design studio Blockworks. It's known as the Uncensored Library.
RSF stated their reasoning behind the exciting project: "RSF used this backdoor to build 'The Uncensored Library': a library that is now accessible on an open server for Minecraft players around the globe.
The library is filled with books containing articles that were censored in their country of origin. These articles are now available again within Minecraft—hidden from government surveillance technology inside a computer game. The books can be read by everyone on the server, but their content cannot be changed. The library is growing, with more and more books being added to overcome censorship."
The virtual library was officially "opened" on March 12th (World Day Against Cyber Censorship) and uses the hashtag #TruthFindsAWay to popularize the project and encourage people to share their thoughts.
It's a great way of having the voices of journalists, for instance, who have been silenced and even killed in countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Russia heard again. Not only banned articles, but visitors of the Uncensored Library can also find reports on the situation of press freedom in 180 countries in the world.
Christian Mihr's, executive director of RSF, words to the BBC, state "We chose Minecraft because of its reach, it is available in every country. The game is not censored like some other games which are under suspicion of being political."
Mihr continued "There are big communities in each featured country, that's why the idea came up - it is a loophole for censorship."
Building the project took three months, and the library is made up of 12.5 million blocks. It took 24 builders from 16 different countries and more than 250 hours to design and create the library. It's a work of art and cooperation.