© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

A Minecraft server is being used to publish articles in highly censored countries

Charlotte Grimwood
The Uncensored Library on Minecraft
The Uncensored Library on Minecraft  Charlotte Grimwood

The Uncensored Library on Minecraft, which has published articles accessible in highly censored countries, has faced hacking attempts since it opened in March

The library has information about press freedom in every country, but its focus is on countries with restrictions on press freedom.

Reporters Without Borders Campaign Leader Kristin Bässe said, “We want to reach young people and engage them in the topic and inform them about press freedom issues.”
 
Bässe said Minecraft allowed the republication of material that wasn’t accessible in certain countries because of censorship.
 
More than 100,000 people had visited the library and there had been attempts to hack the server, she said.
 
People generally used a VPN to bypass restrictions in countries with suppression.
 
Bässe said The Uncensored Library showed there were more ways to overcome censorship than people think.
 
About one to two articles had been added per week, but this was subject to change.
 
Bässe said Reporters Without Borders were focused on adding content about effects on press freedom during COVID-19.
 
Correspondent Mary Ann Jolley worked in countries with high censorship and was deported from Malaysia in 2015, as a result of her investigative reporting.
 
The lives of many journalists who live in countries without freedom of speech were in danger, Jolley said. 
Local journalists were at more risk than someone in her position, who was more likely to be deported than put in jail or disappear as a result of their work.
  
Jolley said people were “tech-savvy” as they were having to deal with suppression and “use technology cleverly”.

She said that while working on a story about COVID-19 in Indonesia, people who weren't journalists were fearful to give information as the Government could act against them.
 
Jolley said even in New Zealand and Australia people could be scared to show their faces.
“It’s the fear of reprisal.”
 
Access to articles was important because the more educated people were, the less likely they were to be exploited and more likely to be able to fight for their rights, she said.