(Helsinki) A Finnish newspaper revealed on Wednesday that it had found a way around media censorship in Russia by concealing information and reports about Ukraine in a popular online game in Russia.
“While Helsingin Sanomat and foreign independent media are blocked in Russia, online gambling is not banned so far,” Antero Mukka, the newspaper’s editor, told AFP.
Helsingin Sanomat used the online shooter Counter-Strike, which has some four million players in Russia. While most gameplay takes place on official levels and maps released by publisher Valve, players can create custom maps that anyone can download and use.
“So we built a Slavic city, called Voyna, which means war in Russian,” Mukka explained.
In the basement of one of the buildings in the city, the technicians of Helsingin Sanomat have hidden a room where players can find reports in Russian made by the war correspondents of the newspaper in Ukraine.
The walls of the digital room are covered with articles and photos relating to events such as the massacres in the Ukrainian towns of Boutcha and Irpin.
On one of the walls, players can find a map of Ukraine where attacks on the civilian population are reported, while a recording in Russian reads articles from the Helsingin Sanomat.
This is “information that is not available in Russian state propaganda outlets,” Mukka added.
Since its publication on Monday, the map has already been downloaded more than two thousand times.
“It shows that any attempt to prevent the flow of information and to mislead the public is doomed to failure in our modern world,” the editor added.