Charlie Hebdo stays true to path of provocation | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 07.01.2015
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Charlie Hebdo stays true to path of provocation

After Wednesday's attack on the "Charlie Hebdo" editorial offices in Paris, a wave of solidarity has swept the Internet. The satirical publication has stayed faithful to its mission of provocation over the years.

France's satirical newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" has always been known for provocative photos and feather-ruffling caricatures. The publication, whose name is reminiscent of Peanuts cartoon Charlie Brown, has a run of 75,000 copies and a staff of around 20. It was "Charlie Hebdo" that published the controversial Muhammad caricatures in France back in 2006.

Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier, Copyright: dapd

Editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier has reportedly been killed in the attack

That wasn't the only time the publication dared to dabble in touchy religious topics, regardless of the reactions. Most recently, the publication of the comic book "The Life of Muhammad" caused a stir in France. Editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier received hefty criticism from the Muslim community and was put under police protection. The publication was attacked for days by hackers and the editorial staff was threatened.

"Charlie Hebdo" is known for provoking intentionally - and has drawn criticism for using scandals to spike readership. Between 1981 and 1992, the paper was suspended for a time due to lack of readers.

It was founded in 1970 as the successor of the monthly satirical journal "Hara-Kiri," which bore the subheading "Stupid and vicious magazine" at the time. Hara-Kiri was banned on multiple occasions due to its scandalous content.

Stéphane Charbonnier after the attack in 2011, Copyright: Nikola Kis Derdei/ABACAPRESS.COM

Stéphane Charbonnier after the attack in 2011

Back in 2011, the "Charlie Hebdo" office space was damaged in an arson attack. Nevertheless, the paper stayed true to its course and continued to published "politically incorrect" material. Its aim was to shake up readers in a way that opened up new perspectives on current issues.

Nevertheless, "Charlie Hebdo" went so far on occasion that it had to appear before court - for example after it was sued for its writings about the pope.

The latest backlash on Wednesday, January 7, in which editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier was reportedly killed, has drawn a slew of reactions from the international community.

On Twitter, the hashtag #CharlieHedbo quickly trended as users from all over the world shared their condolences and opinions, with many changing their profile images to express solidarity with the publication.

@NicoladiaZ tweeted: "I am Charlie" for the right to satire, against cowardliness, and I express solidarity with Charlie Hedbo."

Also from France, @PoilBen wrote: "Freedom is shaking, but it won't fail."

From Jay Neo in India:

Beatriz Diaz from Spain: "We can't forget that not all of Islam is like this. These are extremists at work that damage a religion that is just as respectable as every other one."

A wave a solidarity was also expressed in Germany: "It's a black day for freedom, satire, and an open society."

From the Netherlands, Piet Herweijer summed it up in one sentence: "My God, what a world."

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