Bellingcat uses GoFundMe to prove Russian military’s MH17 satellite images are fake


A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was launched Monday to disprove satellite photos put forward by the Russian military in their investigation of how Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 got shot down in Ukraine last July. Near 300 people were killed.

Bellingcat’s campaign to raise £800 and buy satellite images that tell a very different story reached its goal in a little over an hour. 34 people gave to the campaign.

Born out of a £50,000 crowdfunding campaign last August, the citizen journalism website with a love for open source investigations has long maintained that MH17 was shot out of the sky with Russian missiles.

On May 31, Bellingcat published an analysis of the Russian Ministry of Defense images and a story titled “How to Find Historical Imagery of Russia’s Faked Satellite Photos.”

Today the Bellingcat account was challenged by Russian blogger ‘ntv’. His work was highlighted by in a post titled “Exposed: Russian Blogger Cuts British Online Investigators Down to Size.”

Outside of Russia, news outlets like CNBC and Deutsche Welle shared Bellingcat’s analysis.

This is by no means the first time Ukraine, Russia and crowdfunding aligned for crowdfunding journalism.

Two of the most popular campaigns in Kickstarter’s Journalism category so far this year were on opposite sides of the fight over Russian propaganda.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.


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