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March 25, 2020 | The Clarion
Arts & Life
The Uncensored Library
Bypassing censorship and gaining press freedom
By Solomon Turner
The Uncensored Library is the collaborative
brainchild of Reporters Without Borders, the
world's biggest defender of media freedom,
which they regard as a basic human right
to be informed and to inform others and
Blockworks, a Minecraft creation company. It
launched March 12,2020 on World Day Against
Cyber Censorship and marks a new age of
This virtual library houses a collection of
inaccessible articles from all over the world with
five distinct sections focused on Egypt, Russia,
Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. James
Delaney, managing director of Blockworks,
states in an interview with The Verge that the
content of each room is illegal but has been
accessed from all five target countries showing
that their effort is working.
At the entrance of the library is an official
declaration of the library’s purpose and once
inside a world map is displayed on the ground.
This map is based on the Press Freedom
Index ranking 180 countries according to their
censorship status. The United States ranks 48
out of 180.
In the main rotunda is a dome with all the
represented countries’ flags with an associated
book reporting the press freedom of each
country. According to Delaney, most users look
at the map and go straight for their country.
Its construction took three months to complete
with the cooperation of 24 builders from 16
different countries. The building comprises 12.5
million blocks and took more than 250 hours to
design and create.
Minecraft was chosen as the platform for
this endeavor due to its wide popularity with
145 million monthly players, its ability to
support creative expression and its international
accessibility. Delaney notes that the server
has been working smoothly with attempts to
dismantle it. This is another reason Minecraft
was chosen; unless the platform is banned
completely it cannot be censored and because
the map itself is downloadable all that needs to
be done is for it to be reuploaded again.
This inability to be completely censored
provides a loophole to overcome censorship
providing unlimited freedom of speech
and expression in counties that have no or
limited freedom. According to The Verge, The
Uncensored Library has been a great success
with, as of March 15, 175 countries have
accessed it including individuals from all five
According to DDB Senior Creative Tobi
Natterer, there have been huge audiences in
Russia and Mexico, two of their target regions.
So far around 40 percent of players have
returned more than once, showing that logins
aren’t just one-time deals.
According to the official Uncensored Library
website “Censored Articles Become Uncensored
Books Within Minecraft,” the new online
resource has allowed journalists from five
different countries who have been banned,
jailed, exiled or killed to have their voices
heard. As The Uncensored Library continues
its operation. Reporters Without Borders
will continue to contact journalists, add new
countries and add new content.
The building itself can be accessed through a
downloadable map on uncensoredlibrary.com
or through their online multiplayer server, visit
uncensoredlibrary.com, on version 1.14.4.
The entrance to The Uncensored Library, located in Minecraft. The library can also be accessed on the Web at uncensoredlibrary.com.
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