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Reporters Without Borders Used Google Maps To Fight Censorship

Reporters Without Borders Used Google Maps To Fight Censorship
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The organization's branch in Sweden launched a campaign that shares the words of silenced journalists on digitally altered billboards through Google Street View

Jiwon Kim
  • 10 april 2018

Unfortunately, journalists around the world still struggle to share their reporting because of government censorship. In 2017 alone, 65 journalists were killed and 326 ended up in prison for uncovering ugly truths. Billboards Beyond Borders is an initiative that wants to share these censored news through an innovative way. Reporters Without Borders Sweden utilized Google Maps to share messages in a way that makes it difficult for governments to intervene. Created with agency Åkestam Holst, the initiative digitally alters ad spaces around the world with the commentary of these persecuted journalists. When someone looks at Google Street View, they can see their words in public spaces all over the world.

For example, there is an altered signed in Malta that has an excerpt from journalist Daphne Caurana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb after years of reporting on the corrupt Maltese politicians. Even in the U.S., President Donald Trump is on the hook for blocking reports on Twitter and decrying “fake news” at fact-checked reports. “Russia won the White House for you, Donald Trump,” wrote Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza—and then the president blocked her on Twitter.

The initiative aims to collect and project commentary that has been blocked by different governments. They want to fight the silencing of journalism by projecting the message somewhere that’s accessible to almost anyone with internet access.

Billboards Beyond Borders

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