May 3 was World Press Freedom Day, a date that seeks to promote recognition of the free and independent press, in addition to remembering the importance of access to information without censorship in between, something that was remembered by a Finnish outlet that used Counter-Strike tools to bypass Russian censorship of foreign media and thus leak information on the Russian-Ukrainian War.
The Finnish outlet behind this proposal is Helsingin Sanomat, a newspaper that is currently censored within Russia, like other independent outlets in the country, and therefore decided to try their hand at video games to circumvent censorship rules. that exist on the press, and thus carry information on the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this way, HS took advantage of the fact that Valve continues to operate within the country and used the game Counter-Strike, a game that is very popular among Russian youth, to publish a map with a secret bunker with reports, photos, and information of the Russian invasion inside the Ukraine.
The map is located on the Steam Workshop and is called de_voyna, which allows the map to be downloaded by all Counter-Strike players quickly and for free. As such, the map represents a Slavic city, which at first appears to be just another CS:GO community map; however, when dying during the gamethe in-game camera moves to show that one of the basements of the buildings has a hidden room in which players can find a wealth of information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Russian-language reports from HS war correspondents who were in the conflict zone, maps showing Russian shelling of Ukrainian civilians, as well as other reports and photos showing players the massacres that have taken place in the cities of Irpin and Boutcha . The map currently has 4,900 subscribers and has been applauded on Reddit, although some users mention that the impact on young Russians will not be that great, since “they know what is happening in Ukraine, but they just don’t care.”
The idea is good, but probably the mentality of the young Russians prevents it from working well
This is not the first time that a video game has been used as a method of protest to evade censorship and bring ‘forbidden’ information to players: in Minecraft, a server was created with a virtual library of informative websites, books and journalistic investigations prohibited by governments . The success of the Counter-Strike map objective will depend on the interest of the Russian players to know about the massacre that is taking place in the neighboring country, and the time it takes Putin to learn of this strategy and request its removal.
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