A game featured on Apple devices and gaming platform Steam includes a mission that asks players to gun down a journalist.
The revelation was shared Saturday by New York Times journalist Jamal Jordan, who said in a tweet that his nephew showed him the game “Sniper 3D Assassin.” The game is free to play and can also be accessed through Amazon, Google and Microsoft app stores.
“My nephew is 10, and we had a very long talk after,” Jordan told HuffPost.
The mission, titled “Breaking News,” tasks the player with executing a journalist for bribing a police officer. Video of this portion of the game can be seen on YouTube.
The mission begins with the sound of a gun cocking. Through the scope of the rifle, the player can see a police officer holding a red briefcase and approaching a journalist in a yellow hat. Crosshairs move to the head of the journalist. As the player fires, a slow-motion bullet strikes the journalist in the head, spilling blood.
The mission ends with text in all caps that says, “THAT’S A COVER STORY.”
The game’s developer is Brazilian company TFG Co. On its website, the company says the game was released in 2014 and that at one point in 2016 it was the most downloaded game on Apple’s App Store. The game hit 10 million downloads in its first month, according to the developer. On iPhone, the game has more than 1 million reviews.
Death threats against journalists have grown steadily in recent years, and in June 2018 a gunman opened fire on the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland, killing five people and wounding two others. The United States currently ranks 48 out of 180 countries for press freedoms, according to Reporters Without Borders.
HuffPost wasn’t immediately able to reach TFG Co., and the app platforms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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