Charlie Hebdo is back
French satirical magazine returns to newsstands with financial future secure and print run 50 times greater than before militant Islamists killed 12 people
Charlie Hebdo’s second edition since January’s terrorist attack is prepared at a press distribution centre near Paris. [Photo: Getty, via the Guardian]
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
A new issue of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo hits newsstands on Wednesday, with a cover depicting the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Nicolas Sarkozy, a bishop, a jihadi, a banker and a TV news crew as a rampaging pack of hounds.
The issue marks a return to business as usual for the magazine targeted in last month’s terror attacks in Paris.
In recent days, Charlie Hebdo staff have admitted struggling to come to terms with their new reality after the attack on 7 January which killed 12 people, including the editor, Charb, and some of France’s best-known cartoonists. The magazine is currently operating out of a temporary space in the offices of the daily newspaper Libération, with massive round-the-clock police protection. It is unable to move into a new Paris location until the officeshave been bullet-proofed and secured.
Before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had a print run of between 24,000 and 50,000 copies a week and a modest readership. But after a special commemoration edition published after the attacks sold 8m, with queues at newsstands across France, this week’s edition will have a print run of 2.5m. Charlie Hebdo now has 200,000 subscribers, compared with 8,000 before the attacks.
The magazine, which only a few months ago was struggling financially, now faces the question of how to make the most effective use of the donations that have poured in since the attacks, and how to boost its digital presence. Asked in a radio phone-in whether the magazine risked losing its soul, Riss, the new editor, who was injured in the attacks, said: “We have to hold on to the spirit we had before.”
He said this week’s edition was about “trying to emerge from the shadow of 7 January”. Topics include the former president Sarkozy, the trial on pimping charges of the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the recent Copenhagen shootings. One journalist who has undergone several operations since he was shot in the attacks contributed a piece from his hospital bed.