Newspaper Gets Creative to Inform Russians About War

Finnish paper hides news about Ukraine in a popular video game available to Russians
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2023 6:05 PM CDT
Newspaper Finds Novel Way to Report on Russia
A Ukrainian soldier carries a rocket launcher as he walks to his position near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, May 4, 2023.   (Roman Chop via AP)

Finland's biggest daily newspaper has found a creative way to inform Russians about the war in Ukraine, reports Reuters. Knowing that Moscow censors any news about the war, the Helsingin Sanomat turned to the world of video games. The popular game "Counter-Strike" encourages users to create their own content, and the newspaper took advantage of that, per Engadget. It created a fictional city called "de_voyna," a play off the Russian word for war. In the basement of a building in this city, the newspaper created a secret room where players who enter can read Russian-language accounts of the war by Helsingin Sanomat's correspondents, reports the Guardian.

“In the room, you will find our documentation of what the reality of the war in Ukraine is,” says editor-in-chief Antero Mukka. He revealed the room's existence on Wednesday to mark World Press Freedom Day. An estimated 4 million Russians play the game, and the newspaper worked with developers to leave them clues on how to reach the room. "If some young men in Russia, just because of this game, happen to think for a couple of seconds what is going on in Ukraine then it's worth it," says Mukka. As Engadget notes, Russia will likely try to block the game or at least the locale now that the secret is out, but "it’s an inspiring—and highly creative—way of defying the authoritarian regime’s free-press restrictions." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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