Reporters Without Borders’ Uncensored Minecraft Library is Going to Fundamentally Undermine Government Censorship of the Press.
Minecraft - the best selling single video game of all time - may be at the forefront of a clever new method to deliver banned media to those behind oppressive government firewalls.
When Reporters Without Borders came up with the idea to build an uncensored Minecraft library, they opened up a new venue allowing citizens to see news which they otherwise would not have. On top of that, adding the ability for users to add to it themselves provides for a broad, open-sourced, uncensored news platform that foreign governments are going to find difficult to block.
It’s easy enough for regimes to block access to websites and apps, especially when those who administrate the aforementioned platforms are the ones pushing out the content which governments hostile to a free press may disapprove. It’s another story when it comes to blocking a platform like Minecraft, which already has 300 million accounts in China.
The Chinese government could theoretically ban Minecraft in the country, but the company itself, which is owned by Microsoft, isn’t creating or even promoting “The Unlicensed Library”. It is highly unlikely Microsoft would prevent a popular NGO, such as Reporters Without Borders, from developing and maintaining the downloadable world required to access the library.
Less populous countries with less pull in the business world have an even smaller chance of preventing their citizens access to the library. It doesn’t take much to download a map and servers can be run on personal PCs. The only way to truly prevent access to it is to limit access to the internet. We’ve seen internet shutoffs in the past, proving governments are willing to go to those extremes if they deem it necessary.
What remains to be seen though is how the library, and those who maintain it, respond to the misinformation which will likely arise within its pixelated halls. The library itself may end up being a window into a world iron-fisted governments don’t want you to see, but the content in it will need to be vetted. If contributors to The Unlicensed Library can do that, it’s going to become a powerful resource for those looking to maintain freedom of the press.