Banned Journalism Finds a New Home Within Minecraft

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Minecraft has been a popular open-world game for years, but it’s becoming more. More specifically, a host for banned journalism.

Minecraft is home to millions of players all over the world. The game pushes players to build and survive in an increasingly complex world. There is no storyline, for the players are supposed to create their own. According to CNN Business, The freedom that the game symbolizes laid the groundwork for a virtual library. One that lets users discover and read through articles that were written by journalists in less friendly countries. Vietnam, Egypt, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia are the five major countries involved. Each are countries that have the reputation as not friendly towards journalists. Every article showcased in the virtual library was written by a journalist that’s been killed, jailed, or even exiled. 

The project was started by several groups. Among them were Reporters Without Borders, Blockworks, MediaMonks, and DDB Germany. The project was initially thought up when Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly killed and brutally torn apart following his criticism of Saudi Arabia’s government and Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. Khashoggi worked for the Washington Post as a columnist, and was killed in 2018 on October 2nd. The horrible act was allegedly ordered by figures high up among Saudi Arabia’s government. Salman denied having any ties to the event, but did say he took responsibility for the tragic act as a leader among Saudi Arabia.

Javier Valdez, founder of the Riodoce newspaper, was gunned down and killed in 2017 because of his work (which is now showcased in the virtual library). Nguyen Van Dai, a blogger and human rights lawyer based in Vietnam, was exiled for his work. All texts by the exiled journalist can be found among this virtual library. The same goes for works from the Mada Masr portal (based in Egypt), and (based in Russia). 

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According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, over 250 journalists have been imprisoned because of their work since December 1st. The texts written by these journalists are showcased among Minecraft’s virtual library and are all readable in English.