Charlie Hebdo has announced it is printing a total of 7 million copies of the once-obscure French satirical magazine.
The new total reflects extraordinary demand for what has become known as Charlie Hebdo survivor’s issue.
The latest edition was produced in the days immediately following a terrorist attack at the magazine’s office in Paris. The attackers were apparently motivated by the magazine’s criticisms of Islam and depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
The cover of the new issue has a cartoon of the prophet holding up a sign that reads ” Je suis Charlie” (I Am Charlie).
Customers at newsstands continue to seek copies of the issue – not just in France, where there were long lines observed earlier this week, but also in Germany, where the magazine went on sale on January 17.
There were local reports that the copies quickly sold out in cities like Berlin and Hamburg.
“We could have ordered 500 copies — they would have sold out,” a vendor at the main train station in Stuttgart told DPA, Germany’s main news agency.
For some, buying a copy is a way to show solidarity with the magazine and support freedom of expression.
Charlie Hebdo‘s French distributor, MLP, has been trying to keep pace with demand.
Roughly one million copies each were distributed on January 14, 15 and 16. Technical problems limited the number of copies available in France over the weekend, so it’ll take several days to reach the 5 million mark.
On January 17, MLP boosted the planned total to 7 million.
Le Figaro newspaper called it “a record in the history of the French press”.
A small number of copies began to reach the US on January 16, and more are expected to go on sale in the coming days.
To put the 7 million figure in perspective, only a small number of US magazines print that many copies – AARP The Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Game Informer Magazine.
While support for the new issue has been widespread, opposition to the Mohammed drawing on the cover has been expressed by Islamic leaders and government officials in a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Charlie Hebdo’s cover has been described as insulting to Muslims and needlessly provocative.
Protests against the new cover were reported in Pakistan, Jordan, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Somalia, Senegal, and Mauritania.
Meanwhile, Charlie Hebdo’s surviving editors of the magazine have said little about their plans for future issues, but they have vowed to keep publishing.
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