Antero Mukka, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, said that it was forced to use creativity to overcome restrictions. They decided to conceal articles in Russian regarding Russia’s conflict with Ukraine within the popular shooting game Counter-Strike.
After initiating “special military operations” against Ukraine’s neighbor last year, Russia has taken a hard line on independent journalism. The country has banned independent reporting and refused Russians access media produced overseas.
Helsingin Sanomat began publishing news about Russia and Ukraine in Russian last year in response to Moscow’s laws restricting freedom of the press in Russia and Ukraine. In response to Moscow’s laws, Helsingin Sanomat began publishing some news in Russian last year.
Mukka stated: “We are concerned about the state of freedom of speech and press in Russia. We thought it would be possible to create new channels that could offer Russian audiences reliable and independent journalism about, say, the situation in Ukraine.
Data from Newzoo revealed that Counter-Strike, a video game developed by a private company based in the United States called Valve Corporation was released in 2012. It is ranked among the top 10 PC video games in the world.
The newspaper created a map of a war-torn Slavic city that it did not name, but called “de_voyna”. The paper used the word “voyna” to refer to war in Russian, which is not allowed to be used in Russia in connection with the conflict in Ukraine.
The map conceals a secret room where the newspaper concealed images and texts detailing the brutalities experienced by its journalists and photographer in Ukraine during the war.
Mukka said that the newspaper did not ask Valve for permission to run this campaign as the game allows users to add their content.
He said: “If this game causes some young Russian men to reflect on what is happening in Ukraine for a few moments, then it’s worth it.”
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