Redefining the borders

To draw attention to censorship, Reporters Without Borders found an alternative media space in the digital world.

In some countries it’s dangerous to say what you think, especially in public. For journalists the danger is increased. Not only do they face censorship, but speaking out against the authorities can lead to an “accidental” plunge from a balcony or a similar misfortune. Reporters Without Borders decided to draw attention to restrictions on press freedom by advertising in one place local authorities can’t reach: Google Street View. By “hacking” Street View scenes in Russia, Turkey and Zimbabwe, Reporters Without Borders were able to virtually place controversial messages on centrally placed billboards. Ironically, Google itself eventually put a stop to the campaign. But not before the case study had become an ad in its own right.