Following the success of the weekly “FRANCE 24 Observers” television show, we are proud to announce a new, 12-minute monthly show in which we meet our Observers all over the world. It’s called “Observers Direct”.
 
“Observers Direct” is the product of a unique, multimedia reporting process. It all starts with our network of Observers, ordinary people from around the world who send us photos, videos, and eyewitness accounts. Over the past five years, we’ve built up a community of over 3,000 Observers who contribute to the articles we publish in French, English, and Arabic on our websites. We work collaboratively and virtually – through social networks, webcams, or by phone – to gather exclusive information, which is then verified by our team of journalists at FRANCE 24’s headquarters. With “Observers Direct,” we’re taking the next step and travelling around the world to further investigate some of these stories.
 
Our first episode is about a war over zebus in a remote southern region of Madagascar. An Observer had sent us photos of dead bodies she had seen laid out in the town square of a small village there. We published an article explaining that the villagers had massacred a group of men who, they say, were trying to steal their zebu herds. Eight-six people were killed. But we wanted to find out more about this tragic story: Why did the villagers take the law into their own hands? Was this really a case of legitimate self-defence? To find out, FRANCE 24 journalist Julien Pain travelled to Madagascar to meet our Observer, who took him deep into the mountains to meet the villagers as well as the local authorities.
 
Find out for yourself what happened in this first episode of “Observers Direct”…