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Minecraft library liberates gamers in censored countries

One of the most successful sandbox video games of all time once again proves its versatility outside of tree-punching and cave-exploring by providing a journalism sanctuary for its 126 million active players.

Thinking outside the box

Oppressive governments and growingly sophisticated systems of surveillance have led to an increase of censorship in many parts of the world. Young people are having their expression and opinions manipulated by misinformation, and it’s going to take some outside the box thinking to tackle the problem.

Luckily, Minecraft’s popularity permits it to travel to countries that certain media cannot. Using this square-shaped loophole, non-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders and communication network DDB teamed up with design studio BlockWorks to create ‘The Uncensored Library’ – a digital space for gamers in countries with strict censorship to access banned books and articles.

This library contains material from countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mexico, and Vietnam. These were selected by comparing countries with a low rating on the Press Freedom Index against countries with a high number of Minecraft users.

The initiative hopes to help young adults between 15-30 years old get the information they’ll need to help shape the future.

With pressing issues like climate change, the agriculture crisis, healthcare inequality, and a whole lot more, it couldn’t be more important for the youth to get clued up.

Bedrock solid security

Governments and vicious organisations are unable to censor texts on the server thanks to blockchain technology. Using a similar decentralised system to bitcoin, the ability to make changes requires a whole network’s approval rather than one singular centralised entity.

I could try regurgitating the details of blockchain security, but it’d probably be more helpful to leave this link here:

Basically, you’re more likely to punch through a block bedrock before cracking this Minecraft map.

The library can also be downloaded as an offline map, reuploaded, and downloaded again, resulting in hundreds of thousands of copies – making it impossible to be taken down permanently.

Reporters Without Borders are just as concerned about the safety of the writers as the security for the server. The majority of journalists published in the library have either passed away, are living in exile, or remain anonymous.

Conclusion

Building the impressive structure was a global effort involving 24 people from 16 countries working for 3 months. The library itself was inspired by the New York Public Library and consists of 12.5 million blocks. Now consider that the largest ever Lego set only has 11695 pieces and you’ll get an idea of how complex the design is.

Under the building’s colossal 300m dome (which interestingly would be the second largest dome in the world if it actually existed), encircled by the flags is a mosaic of the globe – reminding us that if one country is being censored, the whole world suffers.

In part, the universal success of Minecraft comes from giving players the ability to build their own worlds, and it’s great to see the platform being used to support young gamers building a better future for our real one.

 

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