CRAFTY WAY AROUND CEN­SOR­SHIP

Press free­dom group stores cen­sored ar­ti­cles in vir­tual li­brary in pop­u­lar video game

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

AVIRTUAL li­brary hous­ing cen­sored ar­ti­cles from around the world has been cre­ated within the hugely pop­u­lar video game Minecraft by press free­dom group Re­porters With­out Bor­ders (RSF).

Minecraft, with its sig­na­ture pix­e­lated graph­ics, en­ables play­ers to build en­tire uni­verses from Lego-like dig­i­tal blocks, ei­ther alone or with oth­ers on­line.

RSF said it had put work by banned, ex­iled or killed jour­nal­ists in five coun­tries — Egypt, Mex­ico, Saudi Ara­bia, Rus­sia and Viet­nam — on an open server, mak­ing it avail­able for play­ers to view de­spite local cen­sor­ship laws.

“In th­ese coun­tries, where web­sites, blogs and free press in gen­eral are strictly lim­ited, Minecraft is ac­ces­si­ble by ev­ery­one,” the group said in a press re­lease.

“Th­ese ar­ti­cles are 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,” it said.

In May last year, Minecraft said 176 mil­lion copies of the game have been sold since its launch a decade ago.

The pro­ject, an­nounced on Thursday to mark the World Day Against Cyber Cen­sor­ship, is called the “Un­cen­sored Li­brary” and takes the form of a large neo­clas­si­cal-style build­ing in the game.

RSF said the li­brary was grow­ing, with more texts be­ing added both in English and their orig­i­nal lan­guage.

Avail­able in the game are ar­ti­cles by slain Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi and from Egyp­tian on­line news­pa­per Mada

Masr, which has been blocked in the North African coun­try since 2017.

FILE PIC

Re­porters With­out Bor­ders says it has put work by banned, ex­iled or killed jour­nal­ists on an open server, mak­ing it avail­able for play­ers to view de­spite local cen­sor­ship laws.

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