Reporters Without Borders Is Now Running An Uncensored Library In Minecraft

Considering that people have spent decades building insane things out of LEGOs, it's no wonder that Minecraft has so permanently embedded itself into popular culture. Even today, over a decade after the humans of Earth first started punching trees with cubed fists, people continue to joke (and write funny articles) about the crazy things you can find in Minecraft, with some of the wilder inventions included digital recreations of the Enterprise-D, the Taj Mahal, and King's Landing.

However, while there's nothing wrong with having fun, what if Minecraft's innovative technology could be used to help improve the world?

Believe it or not, this isn't a utopian fantasy. As Screen Rant explains, the NGO Reporters Without Borders, first formed in 1985 to protect hard-hitting journalism and journalists across the world, is now promoting an open Minecraft server which preserves, protects, and displays censored articles from across the (real) globe. This virtual hub allows inaccessible journalism to be accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This server is called, suitably enough, the Uncensored Library, and it functions by displaying all these articles as in-game books, which users can look through, but not alter or erase.

Using Minecraft bricks to break down real world walls

As Reporters Without Borders explains in their blog, many countries don't have a free press. When authoritarian governments come under fire from the people, such governments tend to resort to hostile measures like blocking popular websites, propaganda, and censoring journalists who dare to criticize the powers-that-be. In practice, this means that citizens of these countries — most critically, the youth — don't have access to the truth. 

By running the Uncensored Library in such a popular video game, this NGO hopes to change that. As explained by the Verge, the Uncensored Library has sections specifically devoted to censored articles from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Egypt. The individual areas contain memorials to journalists who were killed for their dedication to the truth, such as Mexico's Javier Valdez Cárdenas, and of course, the Library also hosts articles written by the murdered Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khasghoggi.

While the Uncensored Library is still new, it's also growing — and most integrally, people from the countries in question are stopping by. As explained by James Delaney, the managing director of Blockworks (the company which constructed the server), "The content you find in these rooms is illegal, but we can see from the server logins that we've already had people from all five of these countries join and read up on this information. It's good to see it's working."