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French press review 14 January 2015

The French press is headlining on the new issue of Charlie Hebdo coming out Wednesday.


The issue is the first since the attack on the newspaper that left 12 people dead the previous week.

The cover depicts a figure the magazine's surviving staff say is the prophet Mohammed with a tear on his cheek, holding a sign that reads "Je suis Charlie". The words "All is forgiven" are written across the page.

Tough luck, though, if you're among those who don't want to see it this morning, because it's all over the French newspapers.

L'Humanité has it on its front page, with a headline that reads "Not even dead".

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Libération headlines "I am at the newsstand" and reproduces Charlie's cover, not one, not two, but 81 times. (Yes I counted.)

Le Monde runs a story on how the latest issue was made.

The paper spent a few days with the survivors at the offices of Libération, which is hosting the magazine. When they arrived at last Friday, the atmosphere was gloomy, says Le Monde, but quite quickly they started cracking bad jokes and laughing again.

According to Le Monde, 50 cartoons were drawn before cartoonist Luz finally draw the green cover. Le Monde describes an emotional atmosphere in which people suddenly burst into tears.

"They are tired and overwrought, but they got there: their twelve colleagues were not killed for nothing, the survivors have prevented the attack to silence them" says the newspaper.

So what's inside this edition of Charlie Hebdo?

It's supposed to be a normal issue. That means Charlie's humour, whether you like it or not, is still intact. But the cartoons focus heavily on the attacks and the days that followed.

Slideshow Charlie Hebdo

Let's start with the headline of the first page: "More people for Charlie than for the Mass last Sunday”, it reads.

Here is a funny cartoon from Catherine. She draws French President François Hollande welcoming former prime ministers of the oppostion centre-right UMP party, as well as former president Nicolas Sarkozy. A caption next to the cartoon reads "one family of clowns killed, another one found!"

I have another one for you, where Luz takes a look at what was positive and what was negative during the past week. On one side, you have a drawing of Madonna supporting Charlie "and giving away her panties". That’s among the positive things - but on the other side, you’ll see German Chancellor Angela Merkel supporting the satirical weekly, and, I quote, "not wearing underwear".

At the bottom of the cartoon, you'll see on the left, Hollande announcing that the French state is giving 1 million euros to Charlie. The square to the right is almost empty, with just a pool of blood drawn on it.

How was the general reaction to Charlie's choice of cover? Libération interviewed several experts on the matter.

Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, a law teacher, says "that by representing the Prophet, the newspaper defends freedom of speech. And at the same time, it is very critical of all the head of states who do not respect human rights."

Malek Chebel, a anthropologist of religions, doesn't see anything in the cover that could trigger violent reactions. He says "there is nothing blasphematory about the cartoon".

"I'm happy that the cartoon is not divisive, because even if it represents the Prophet, it has nothing to do with the previous Charlie's covers" he concludes.

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