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'Charlie Hebdo' to launch German edition

November 23, 2016

The French satirical newspaper plans to release its first German issue on December 1. Editors have said it will initially comprise of translated articles and caricatures, but original German content will follow.

Frankreich Charlie Hebdo Ausgabe C'est Reparti!
Image: Reuters/E. Gaillard

The French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo," which was targeted in a jihadist massacre in Paris in January 2015, will launch a German edition in December, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

 The weekly newspaper will launch in Germany on December 1 with an initial print run of 200,000 issues, although it said it does not know how many edition it will print thereafter.

The first issues will mostly comprise of texts and caricatures translated from the original French edition. However, in time editors intend to also create original German content.

It will be the first time "Charlie Hebdo" has founded an edition for a foreign audience. The publishers saw Germany as the market that expressed the keenest interest in having its own edition. It also provides part of its content in English on its website. A spokeswoman said that the caricaturists in particular encountered a notable demand for the newspaper on their visits to Germany.

However, "Charlie Hebdo" has ruled out opening an office in Germany. Rather, teams of German-speaking reporters and translators will work on the newspaper remotely or from the "Charlie Hebdo" office in Paris.

Who was 'Charlie'?

The publication will cost 4 euros (about $4.20) at newspaper stalls, where it will sell alongside competing German satirical magazines such as "Titanic" and "Eulenspiegel."

'Je suis Charlie'

In France, "Charlie Hebdo" sells some 60,000 copies per week from newsstands and has 50,000 subscribers. The French edition currently sells some 1,000 copies a week in Germany, however the "survivor's edition" - the first issue printed after the massacre - sold 70,000 copies in Germany.

Like its German counterparts, "Charlie Hebdo" is known for its provocative articles and often crass illustrations.  Its divisiveness has split opinion: some find it funny, while others view it with indignation. 

Depictions of the prophet Mohammed within enraged many Muslims and in January 2015 its offices were targeted by Islamic extremists. Twelve people were killed in the massacre, including eight staff workers, among them some of France's most famed cartoonists.

The tragic incident led the newspaper and the phrase "Je suis Charlie" to become a symbol for press freedom and freedom of expression.

Today, the editors work in strictly guarded offices in a secret location, while the most prominent members of staff remain under police protection.

dm/kl (AFP)

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