What do you think of when you hear the word “Minecraft?” Like the majority of people, you probably know that it’s a video game where you obtain various blocks through mining in order to craft items, hence its name, “Minecraft!”
However, fans of this game know that it can extend much further beyond this simple explanation. Whether you’re battling the Ender Dragon or creating a whimsical cottage, “Minecraft” is known for being a fun, nostalgic video game that can be enjoyed solo or with friends.
With “Minecraft” skyrocketing in popularity over the past few years, many have seized the opportunity to use the sandbox game to inform and educate in various ways, from YouTube videos to interactive maps to online servers. One way Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has utilized the video game is by giving a voice to those who don’t have one.
Many countries do not believe in freedom of the press, therefore silencing those who aim to spread the truth. In countless instances, means of silencing reporters and journalists often turn violent and, in extreme and unfortunate cases, deadly. Through RWB’s interactive server and map, “The Uncensored Library,” previously censored works and publications have once again been given a public platform.
“The Uncensored Library” was released on March 12, 2023, also known as “World Day Against Cyber Censorship”. Created by BlockWorks, DDB Berlin and MediaMonks, this map and server is free for anyone to download or join. On an impressive and unbelievably massive scale, the map contains a library built to resemble various famous institutions such as the New York Public Library.
The library is sectioned off into five wings, each representing a country with strict freedom of the press restrictions: Russia, Egypt, Vietnam, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In each wing, the player will find banned reports and publications from different journalists and reporters in the form of interactive books that players can read through.
One room of the library honors those that have lost their lives as punishment for reporting the hidden truths of their countries. The room displays a picture of the reporter or journalist and a detailed explanation of their banned works and untimely deaths.
In addition to this, a section of the library has been dedicated to banned publications regarding COVID-19 from multiple countries outside of the five previously mentioned. Having used 12.5 million “Minecraft” blocks to build, it’s glaringly evident how much work went into “The Uncensored Library.”
Not only does the library seek to inform about the heinous silencing and life-threatening danger that is faced by the public in these countries, but it does so through extensive detail and eye-catching structures built to give the people a voice. While the map itself takes up quite a bit of storage, it is well worth the download, or at the very least, a visit to the public online server. If further interested, “The Uncensored Library” has its own website dedicated to further explaining the map and server.