A Finnish newspaper has used a secret room in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map to provide uncensored news reports about the Ukraine war to players in Russia.
In a plan designed to highlight World Press Freedom Day, Helsingin Sanomat – Finland’s largest daily newspaper – has chosen to use Counter-Strike as a way to bypass the restrictions of the Russian media. The organization has created a new map in the multiplayer shooter that contains a hidden room It can only be found using the camera viewer, and inside is a collection of Russian-language stories from the Helsingin Sanomat detailing the actions of the Russian army during its invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to GamesRadarHelsingin Sanomat editor-in-chief Antero Muca said “there is very little chance that Russians will receive independent information about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine”. This is due to severe restrictions placed on the Russian media in the aftermath of the war by state authorities, which ban what the state considers “false information” about operations in Ukraine.
With Counter-Strike being one of the most popular games in Russia (about four million people play it in the country), this was the reporters’ chance to tell uncensored stories to the country’s residents.
“We created a map of a war-ravaged Slavic city within the game, with a secret room that provides Russian players uncensored access to the horrors of war in Ukraine in their native language,” Mocha said, noting that the Russian authorities are still leaving the games unchecked.
The map titled “de_vonya” (the Russian term for “war”, which is currently censored by the Russian authorities) depicts a town devastated by battle, and although it is primarily intended for the Russian people, it is currently accessible to anyone who plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive .