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Support pours in to ensure Charlie Hebdo lives on

AFP / Kenzo Tribouillard
4 min

Just hours after the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, support – moral, financial and logistical – began flooding in to ensure that satirical French weekly would live on, in defiance of those that sought to silence it.


Charlie Hebdo’s surviving editorial staff have already vowed to publish a new edition of the magazine next Wednesday, January 14. One million copies will be printed, instead of the usual 60,000.

“Stupidity is not going to win,” said Patrick Pelloux, one of the magazine’s columnists as well as a practising doctor who delivered first aid in the aftermath of the attack, which left 12 dead.

On Friday, Pelloux and other surviving staff members were seen heading into the offices of the French newspaper Libération, which has offered the magazine’s employers use of its premises for “as long as necessary”.

"We are hosting them because they don't even have a pencil,” Pierre Fraidenraich, one of the newspapers directors told AFP. “Their computers and all their equipment have been sealed" in their blood-soaked offices a few streets away, he added.

He said an entire floor of Libération’s offices had been put at the magazine’s disposal, as well as “all the tools necessary for the production of next week’s edition, as well as those to come, for as long as they need”.

Extra security measures had been put in place at the building, said Fraidenraich.

Pledges of support from home and abroad

But the offers of help did not end there. Numerous French media organisations – including Le Monde, France Télévisions, Radio France and FRANCE 24’s parent company France Médias Monde – have also vowed to “make available all the manpower and materials necessary to allow Charlie Hebdo to live on”.

Pledges of support have also come in from overseas, with The Guardian announcing Thursday a donation of £100,000 (€128,000) to help keep the magazine running.

That will be added to the approximately €1 million of funding French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin promised to make available for Charlie Hebdo “to ensure its continuation”.

Speaking to France Info radio, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said that public aid for the magazine “would be justified”.

“The disappearance of Charlie Hebdo is inconceivable,” she said.

Support has also come from distributors. One, Messageries Lyonnaises de Presse, has said its shares in profits from the last issue to go on sale before the attack will go back to the magazine.

It will do the same for next week’s edition, it told AFP, while also offering free publicity.

Another distributor, Presstalis, has said it will forego its commission for the next issue, French business daily Les Echos reported.

More financial aid for the magazine is set to come from Presse et Pluralisme, an organisation that allows tax-free donations to be made to media orgainisations. It has said it will make €200,000 euros available to help with the distribution of next week’s issue.

The Digital Innovation Press Fund – backed by Internet search giant Google – has also pledged to make a donation, reported to be around €250,000.

On top of the financial aid, “a lot of people, a lot of intellectuals [and] artists” have said they are ready to help the magazine keep going, Charlie Hebdo’s former head Phillipe Val told France Inter.

Financial difficulties

Before Wednesday’s attack, the magazine had been in considerable financial difficulty, its declining sales bringing it to the verge of bankruptcy.

Weekly sales had fallen to around 30,000 a week, half the number printed, while it needed to sell at least 35,000 a week just to break even, Stéphane Charbonnier, or Charb, had told AFP before losing his life in the massacre.

He launched an appeal for donations in November to help save the magazine, but by the end of the year it had only raised a few thousand euros, much less than the €1 million hoped for.

That appeal is now set to continue with the full weight of the French media behind it, many of whom are relaying the call for donations through their publications.

The message will also be spread abroad through Reporters Without Borders.

“Revenue from the next edition will go to the families of the victims,” said Val. “The call for donations will ensure Charlie Hebdo continues.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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