Uncensored Text in an Unlikely Place


Image by Matilda Wormwood via Pexels

In a host of countries, websites, social media pages, and other forms of media consumed online are controlled and regulated by that country’s leaders. Often, in these countries, media is restricted, blocked, and text is censored, in order to manipulate and oppress the current generation’s access to information. This then blocks the acquisition of knowledge that opens the door to opinions and freedom of thought. However, a group of journalists that fights for freedom of the press under five oppressive regimes- that of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Egypt- have found an unexpected loophole: Minecraft.

Minecraft is a sandbox video game that was produced and is maintained by Mojang. The video game is one of the best selling of all time, with around 238 million copies sold in 2022, according to BusinessofApps. In addition, the active player base is currently upwards of 90 million, having reached a peak of 131 million monthly active users in 2020. As a sandbox game, Minecraft allows for an infinite amount of possibilities- recreating famous buildings, connecting with friends for multiplayer fun, allowing for content creation…and providing uncensored text.

Minecraft has a book item built into its game that allows players to record text within a single player world or multiplayer server. The group of journalists grasped onto this and created a project to “bypass internet censorship” and “bring back the truth”, known as the Uncensored Library. A map containing a reconstruction of a library building holds uncensored texts and forbidden articles deep within its pixels as books of the video game. This can be downloaded by anyone with access to the website, https://www.uncensoredlibrary.com/en, and access to Minecraft. The website explains in detail on how one can acquire the knowledge hidden within this game.

Freedom of information, and allowing for opinions to be expressed freely without being censored, remains a battle to be fought in order to give the next generation a chance to see true freedom of the press. Knowledge is one of the greatest weapons to fight wars of words and information. Although one may try to oppress it, knowledge will find a way, even through unlikely circumstances. Video games, ignored by higher powers and played by millions, might just hold one of the many keys to solve this problem.