Charlie Hebdo promises special survivors' issue, says won't let 'stupidity' win

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo announced on Thursday it will defy its attackers and publish a special edition with a print run of a million copies next week, as a wave of public support rose up to save it from bankruptcy.

Surviving columnist Patrick Pelloux told AFP the magazine would bring out a "survivors' issue" next Wednesday to show that "stupidity will not win" after the attack on its headquarters which left 12 dead.

The newspaper's lawyer, Richard Malka, said that the 60,000 copies Charlie Hebdo would normally print was being multiplied because of the massive attention worldwide brought by Wednesday's bloody attack.

Malka spoke after attending a meeting of the 30 remaining staff that discussed the paper's future and how to bring out the issue.

All agreed that "the next issue has to come out -- it's the best way to pay homage to the dead and to show that they (the attackers) did not kill us off," he said.

 Charlie Hebdo promises special survivors issue, says wont let stupidity win

The words "I am Charlie" are spelled out with candles at a gathering in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper: AP

Pelloux admitted that "It's very hard. We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win".

In November, the 44-year-old publication, which seeks to amuse and provoke readers over current events with irreverent cartoons, had launched an appeal for donations to stave off imminent bankruptcy.

Usually priced at three euros ($3.60) apiece, it often sells only half of its 60,000 copies per week.

But this week's issue sold out on Wednesday after the attack, with some copies on eBay attracting extraordinary bids of over 70,000 euros ($82,400).

'Charlie has to come out'

Twelve people, including five cartoonists, were killed in Wednesday's attack that also left two policemen dead.

The cartoon-reliant newspaper -- with a name inspired by the American comic book character Charlie Brown from the series Peanuts (with "Hebdo" being French slang for weekly) -- will present a special issue of eight pages instead of its usual 16, Malka said.

The leftwing French daily newspaper Liberation will host Charlie Hebdo's journalists from Friday, because the weekly's own blood-soaked, bullet-riddled offices are sealed after the attack. Other major French media, including AFP, Le Monde newspaper and Canal+ television, are also offering assistance.

A French media fund managing 60 million euros ($70 million) donated by Google in 2013 will make an unspecified financial contribution to Charlie Hebdo. Government agencies have also taken subscriptions to the newspaper to lend it support.

The French government and dozens of media organisations have now vowed to ensure Charlie Hebdo continues.

"Charlie has to come out. To not do so would be an abdication" of the media's duty, the head of the AFP news agency, Emmanuel Hoog, said after a meeting late Wednesday with several radio, television and newspaper counterparts at the French culture ministry.

France's justice minister, Christiane Taubira, added on Thursday, to France Info radio: "Public aid to help Charlie would be justified. We cannot envision Charlie Hebdo disappearing."

Constant threats

Charlie Hebdo's staff had been the target of death threats for years, starting in 2006 when it reprinted 12 cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammed published the previous year by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Even though the paper was under police protection, two masked men wielding assault rifles were able to carry out Wednesday's methodical, military-style attack and escape.

Previously, the worst attack the newspaper had suffered was in 2011 and came the day it published more of its own caricatures of Mohammed. Then, suspected Islamists firebombed its empty premises.

Wednesday's attack wiped out most of its leading figures.

The newspaper's 47-year-old editor-in-chief, Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, who was also one of its cartoonists, was murdered along with his police bodyguard.

Four other cartoonists, all major names in France -- Jean "Cabu" Cabut, 76; Georges Wolinski, 80; Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57; and Philippe Honore, 73 -- were also slain, as were three other employees, including a notable economist for French radio, Bernard Maris.

Others killed were a maintenance man the assailants shot on the ground floor as they entered the building, and a policeman they executed in cold blood as he lay wounded on the pavement outside.

Pelloux, who is head of France's emergency room doctors' association, said the news editor and two others who contributed to the newspaper were wounded in the attack.

They were Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, also a cartoonist in addition to being news editor, as well as Philippe Lancon and Fabrice Nicolino.

AFP

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Updated Date: Jan 09, 2015 11:43:04 IST