Finland’s largest daily newspaper has hit back at Russia’s media restrictions by hiding news about the war in Ukraine in a video game backroom.
Antero Mukka, editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, said the newspaper had to be creative in trying to break the barriers and decided to hide articles about the shooter game Counter-Strike, which is popular among young Russian men.
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Russia Since Moscow launched what it called a “special military operation” in 2018, it has cracked down on independent journalism by banning free reporting and denying Russians access to media content produced abroad Ukraine.
“Because we have been broadly concerned about the state of press freedom and freedom of expression in Russia, we decided that perhaps we could find some new outlets to provide Russian audiences with some reliable, independent news coverage, for example on the situation in Ukraine,” Mr Muka told Reuters. .
“Counter-Strike,” released in 2012 by privately held US game maker Valve Corporation, ranks among the top 10 most popular PC games in the world, according to research firm Newzoo.
this Finland paper has created its own map of the war-torn Slavic city, naming it “voyna”, the Russian word for war – a word banned in Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“You’ll find a back room there where we give them our own articles, our own documents, for example, about the Bucha and Irpin massacres, and the Russian military casualties in Ukraine,” Mr Muka said.
He said the newspaper did not ask for permission from Valve because the game allows users to create their own content and add it to its platform.
“If some young people in Russia, just because of this game, happen to think for a few seconds about what’s going on in Ukraine, then it’s worth it,” he added.
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Russia also outlawed defamation of its armed forces shortly after it invaded Ukraine last February.
A father detained while his 13-year-old daughter is held by the state A school principal called the police after she drew a picture of a Russian missile falling on a Ukrainian mother and child.
Alexei Moskalyov was sentenced to two years in exile for defaming the armed forces, but escaped house arrest before his sentence.
When an official announced in court that he had fled, some in the room chanted: “Well done!”