Finnish Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat Bypasses Russia’s Media Censorship with Counter-Strike

Key Takeaways:

  • Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat found a new way to bypass Russia’s censorship.
  • The online game Counter-Strike was used to provide Russian gamers with reliable news about the situation in Ukraine.
Moscow, Russia, 4 october 2019: Testing a new computer game for teenagers on Sennheiser equipment with a blurred background
Finnish Newspaper Hides Ukraine News Reports for Russians in Counter-Strike

WISCONSIN ( —  Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has found a new way to bypass Russia’s media censorship. It has turned to the popular online game Counter-Strike to provide Russian gamers with independent journalism about the situation in Ukraine.

The Idea Behind Helsingin Sanomat’s Initiative

Antero Mukka, Helsingin Sanomat’s editor-in-chief, said they decided to explore new channels to provide Russian audiences with reliable journalism. But, first, they needed to find a way to reach Russians deprived of independent media. 

“While Helsingin Sanomat and other foreign independent media are blocked in Russia, online games have not been banned so far,” said Antero Mukka. 

The newspaper bypassed Russia’s censorship through the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike, where gamers battle against each other as terrorists and counter-terrorists in timed matches. 

The game has a feature where players can create their maps, and Helsingin Sanomat created a map that serves as a virtual library.

The Virtual Library

The Virtual Library is a room that contains information and reports about situations in Ukraine. 

The room contains accounts of the massacre in Bucha, where the Ukrainian government says at least 458 people died. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that 73-128 people died. 

It also details the story of Yuriy Glodan in Odessa, whose entire family, including his three-month-old daughter, were killed by a cruise missile while he was food shopping. Finally, it contains Helsingin Sanomat’s best attempt to catalog the number of Russians who have died in this war, which it currently estimates at 70,000.

The Virtual Library is a treasure trove of information for gamers who would otherwise not have access to it. The library is accessible from within the game, and gamers can enter the room to read reports. 

Reports are available in English and Russian; gamers can read them independently. Helsingin Sanomat has managed to provide gamers with information while also keeping them engaged in the game.

Impact of the Helsingin Sanoma Initiative

Helsingin Sanomat’s initiative has been well-received by gamers and journalists alike. 

It has managed to provide a new channel for independent journalism in Russia. The idea has also highlighted the importance of finding new ways to bypass censorship in countries where independent media cannot operate.

This has also shown that the gaming world and gamers are still unchecked. Nevertheless, the game has a vast following, and Helsingin Sanomat has allowed them to reach a new audience. 

While the initiative may not reach everyone, it is a small step towards providing independent journalism to those who need it most.

Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat Bypasses Russia’s Media Censorship with Counter-Strike

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