I’ve seen Minecraft builds for just about everything, but it’s a rare day that a blocky build in-and-of itself fights for a global ideal like press freedom. In honor of World Day Against Cyber Censorship yesterday, a new in-game library has opened its doors called The Uncensored Library. Players can download a copy of the library to explore offline or join the server where copies of journalists’ writing that was banned in their home countries has been republished inside Minecraft’s in-game books.
Non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders has spearheaded the project in an attempt to get reporting that’s been banned into the hands of younger folks. It’s not just because you kids be playing all those video games. It’s about access for younger generations that have “grown up in systems where their opinion is heavily manipulated by governmental disinformation campaigns,” RWB say. “Blogs, newspapers and websites are censored but Minecraft is still accessible,” RWB says of countries that have restricted press freedom.
There are five countries represented inside the library: Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Egypt. Each has its own wing and a sort of art experience representation of how journalists in the country are censored. Vietnam’s wing has a giant labyrinth, Saudi Arabia a giant cage, and Mexico a graveyard. It functions as a practical way to distribute the information and an artistic commentary at the same time. I believe this is what they call “praxis.”
To access the library, you’ll need to be running the 1.14.4 version of Minecraft. You can either download the map to explore yourself on The Uncensored Library website or you can join with the server IP address “visit.uncensoredlibrary.com” in the multiplayer section of Minecraft.
The library already represents five countries with limited press freedom but there are many others with lower scores on the Press Freedom Index. RWB say “The library is growing, with more and more books being added to overcome censorship,” though it’s not clear whether publications from additional countries will also be added.