Last night BBC Newsnight chose to show the front page of the first edition of Charlie Hebdo since the magazine’s offices were attacked by Islamist terrorists last week. Perhaps unsuprisingly, the remaining staff chose to depict Mohammed crying and holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign. The headline reads “Tout Est Pardonne” which translates to “Everything is Forgiven”.
The latest edition of the magazine is due out tomorrow and the publishers have printed three million copies, compared to their usual circulation of around 60,000. However, most British people are unlikely to see the latest front page unless they manage to get hold of a copy themselves as most newspapers have refused to reprint it.
Across Europe newspapers have chosen to publish both the original Mohammed cartoons that caused resentment amongst Muslims and the latest frontpage. In the UK most editors have published articles about the frontpage today but almost none of them have shown the artwork itself.
The Daily Express used a montage of some of those killed in the terrorist attack along with some of the less controversial front pages.
The Times’ offering was even more bizarre, appearing to have almost no relevance to the article’s subject whatsoever. Instead they ran a picture described as “Tributes to the victims of the recent terror attacks in France adorn the reliefs surrounding the monument at Place de la Republique”.
The Daily Mail published an article explaining the front page of Charlie Hebdo but they too did not show their readers the cover itself.
The Daily Telegraph was perhaps the weakest of all the papers. It printed the headline and the background of the magazine but cropped the picture so that readers could not see the picture of Mohammed.
In contrast the Breitbart News Network ran it as the front page across all of the ‘verticals’ including London. This was on top of our editorial team’s earlier decision to publish the original Mohammed cartoons on the day of the attack itself.
A million copies of this week’s Charlie Hebdo edition are already being printed, including 16 different foreign language versions. The publishers say they will have the option to print a further two million copies and have already been asked for a total of 300,000 copies for retailers outside France. In a normal week they would expect 4,000 international readers.
Despite the effort to keep going after the terrorist attack the remaining staff have warned reader they will only be publishing eight pages. This is much smaller than usual but is still considered a major achievement given the circumstances.
The magazine’s lawyer Richard Malka told local media: “‘We will not give in… The spirit of ‘Je suis Charlie’ means the right to blaspheme. We will not give in otherwise all this won’t have meant anything. A Je Suis Charlie banner means you have the right to criticise my religion, because it’s not serious.
“We have never criticised a Jew because he’s a Jew, a Muslim because he’s a Muslim or a Christian because he’s a Christian. But you can say anything you like, the worst horrors – and we do – about Christianity, Judaism and Islam, because behind the nice slogans, that’s the reality of Charlie Hebdo.”
Since last week the magazine has established a new office.