Investigative journalism group Bellingcat has been awarded €500,000 of funding which it will use to set up an office and training centre in The Hague.
The publisher, which revealed the identity of the Salisbury poisoning suspects last year, was awarded the cash prize by the Dutch postcode lottery at the 2019 Goed Geld Gala yesterday.
Bellingcat’s lead researcher for Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Aric Toler, said the money would go towards establishing offices in The Hague, the Dutch city that is also home to the UN’s International Court of Justice, and hosting “significantly more” training workshops in the Netherlands.
Toler tweeted the funding win, adding that along with recent donations and income from workships the website is hiring “a stable of new researchers/trainers” including Johanna Wild and Rawan Shaif.
“We put pretty much all our funds into salaries,” he added.
Toler said setting up an office would be “pricey” but that the half-a-million euros of funding would make it “very easy” and allow the outlet to “keep hiring and paying great researchers and trainers all over”.
Speaking to Press Gazette, Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins (pictured) said the Netherlands office would become the base of “at least six” staff working on its Yemen project and three new admin staff.
It was announced earlier this year that Bellingcat and the Global Legal Action Network had partnered on a project to gather and analyse a dataset of 100 aerial attacks in Yemen through a network of journalists, lawyers and technical specialists.
Higgins said: “We’ve been working to develop a system for investigating and archiving open source evidence to a standard that the material we produce can be used in courts.
“In a way, it sets our own minimum standards to our investigative work regardless of the final outcome, what we produce can be used for a number of final outcomes, from journalistic products to use in courts.”
He added that Bellingcat was hoping to release its first dataset from the Yemen project by 25 March.
Picture: Simon Dawson/Reuters