Free press advocates unveil new library of censored works — in Minecraft

This week the Reporters Without Borders NGO and its collaborators unveiled The Uncensored Library, a virtual library built in Minecraft that’s stocked with censored works and information on press freedom.

It’s a notable use of the venerable block-based building game, one intended to circumvent regional censorship and press suppression by keeping a read-only collection of relevant work accessible on an open Minecraft server.

“[In countries] where websites, blogs and free press in general are strictly limited, Minecraft is still accessible by everyone,” reads a press release announcing The Uncensored Library’s debut this week. “Reporters Without Borders (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.”

Relevant reports on press freedom, as well as censored works from journalists who have been suppressed, jailed, exiled, or killed in five different countries are currently available to read (in English and their original language) in The Uncensored Library, with more to come in the future.

The Library itself was built by 24 people at Minecraft design studio Blockworks, working in concert with Reporters Without Borders as well as digital production and advertising agencies to unveil it the same week as yesterday’s World Day Against Cyber Censorship.