Attacked satirical French weekly to print a million copies next week

  • Reuters, Paris
  • Updated: Jan 09, 2015 01:50 IST

Undaunted by the gunning down of its leading cartoonists, the French weekly Charlie Hebdo plans to print a million copies next Wednesday, almost 30 times more than usual.

French media rallied around the satirical paper on Thursday, a day after militants killed 12 people as journalists held an editorial meeting, to ensure its next edition appears on time by offering funds and office space.

The newspaper, which had been in temporary offices since its Paris headquarters was firebombed in 2011 after printing a cartoon mocking Islam's Prophet Mohammad, will work from the premises of the left-wing daily Liberation, its host announced.

Charlie Hebdo's lawyer Richard Malka said the print run, which is normally about 30,000 copies but rises to 200,000 for the most controversial issues, would be set at a million.

"We have decided to continue Charlie with those who survived," Malka told Liberation. "It's our way of saying that no, they did not kill Charlie, they haven't won."

Patrick Pelloux, a Charlie Hebdo columnist who was not in the office during the attack, sobbed as he told a television interviewer the newspaper would come out next week on time.

"It will be tough," he said. "We must not give in."

Malka said staff had no equipment to work with "no computer, no pencil, nothing" following the attack, which badly damaged the offices and turned them into a crime scene.

Radio France, France Televisions and the Paris daily Le Monde announced late on Wednesday they would provide "all the human and material means necessary so that Charlie Hebdo continues to live".

They urged their colleagues in the media to join them "to preserve the principles of independence of thought and expression that guarantee our democracy". Several more pledged their support on Thursday.

The paper's editor, Stephane Charbonnier, who was among those killed in Wednesday's attack, had appealed for funds from readers in November, saying the paper, which carries no advertisements, needed to sell 35,000 to break even.

According to the business daily Les Echos, French publishers have agreed to contribute 250,000 euros and a fund for new media partly backed by Google would contribute a similar amount. News distributors agreed to display the next edition prominently in their kiosks and shops.

"They wanted to kill Charlie Hebdo," Les Echos chief executive Francis Morel told his staff. "Not only did they not succeed, but we want Charlie Hebdo to emerge stronger from this tragedy."

The attackers, still on the run on Thursday, burst into Charlie Hebdo's office during the regular Wednesday editorial meeting and shot dead five of its leading cartoonists.

Several of them had drawn cartoons lampooning Islam and its prophet in the past. As the attackers left the scene, one shouted "We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad."

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