Russia fury over Charlie Hedbo crash cartoons

The Kremlin on Friday angrily condemned France's Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine for publishing political cartoons on the subject of the Egypt plane crash in which 224 people died, most of them Russian tourists.

Russia fury over Charlie Hedbo crash cartoons
Debris belonging to the A321 Russian airliner are seen at the site of the crash in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt. Photo: AFP
France's satirical magazine was once again making enemies on Friday after it published cartoons featuring the Russian plane crash over Egypt.
One cartoon shows debris and human remains raining down on an armed Isis militant, with the caption: “IS: Russian aviation is intensifying bombardments,” a reference to its air strikes in Syria.
Another shows a skull with a pair of sunglasses hanging off it with the crashed plane in the background.
It is titled “The dangers of Russian low-cost airlines”, and the speech bubble says “I should have taken Air Cocaine,” a reference to a current scandal over French pilots smuggling drugs from the Dominican Republic.
The reaction from Moscow and on Twitter was swift.
“In our country we can sum this up in a single word: sacrilege,” President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
“This has nothing to do with democracy or self-expression. It is sacrilege.”
The Kremlin spokesman called the cartoons “unacceptable” but said Russia would not make an official complaint.
On Russian-language Twitter, hashtags “Charlie Hebdo” and “I'm not Charlie” were among the top trends on Friday.
Writing on Twitter, the lower house of parliament's international affairs chief Alexei Pushkov asked: “Is there any limit to Russophobia on the pages of Western media?
“As the whole world condoles with us, Charlie Hebdo preaches its vile right to sacrilege.”
Russian state television news gave lengthy coverage to criticism of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, which it did not show.
“It's not satire but filthy mockery,” said the deputy speaker of the lower house, Ivan Melnikov, in televised comments.
“Is anyone else 'Charlie'?” asked foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Facebook, referring to the message “Je Suis Charlie” circulated by the magazine's supporters after the massacre.

Charlie Hebdo made a name for itself worldwide by choosing to publish cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, which lead to protests in Muslim countries around the world.

Cherif and Said Kouachi, two Muslim extremists said they were avenging those cartoons when they stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7th, killing 12 people.

The air crash cartoons, published on Wednesday, have not been widely covered in French media, but come just weeks after the same magazine was blasted for making light of Down's Syndrome.
Charlie Hebdo's front cover referred to a controversial gaffe-prone French politician as the “secret Down's syndrome child of Charles de Gaulle”.

The cover showed an unflattering image of Morano, who has now become a hate-figure after her latest remarks, in the arms of former French president Charles de-Gaulle.

Next to it are the words: “Morano, the secret Down’s Syndrome daughter of de Gaulle”. PureMedias: La Une de “Charlie Hebdo” avec Nadine Morano trisomique choque une maman

— Cyber-Actu (@CyberActualite) October 7, 2015

The cover prompted harsh reaction on Twitter, but also from the mother of a Down's Syndrome child, who lambasted the magazine in an emotional column for the L’Express newspaper.

“You know what Charlie, it’s not funny. You have hurt all those close to people who have Down’s Syndrome,” said Caroline Boudet, whoseFacebook post about being a parent of Louise, her child with Down’s Syndrome went viral in the summer.



Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims

Charlie Hebdo said Monday €4.3 million in donations will go to the victims of a jihadist attack against the French satirical magazine, which has faced internal tensions over the use of the money.

Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims
Copies of Charlie Hebdo have flown off the shelves since the attacks. Photo: AFP
The provocative weekly was on the brink of bankruptcy when two Islamist brothers in January gunned down 12 people at its offices, including journalists and two policemen, over its cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
The attack made the newspaper a household name around the world as the Twitter hashtag #jesuischarlie went viral and it became a symbol for freedom of speech.
Charlie Hebdo issues flew off the shelves and it was inundated with donations.
The publication's management said Monday in a statement that donations had come from 36,000 people in 84 different countries and would be “handed over in full to the victims.”
“The distribution of this money will be entrusted to a committee of wise men which we have asked the justice ministry to choose,” said the statement.
Charlie Hebdo has been split over the use of the money, with some staff members accusing management of not being transparent enough about its plans. 
Some 15 of the magazine's 20 staff have called for all employees to become equal shareholders in the magazine.
“This money must be given to the victims. That is the commitment that was made,” said Patrick Pelloux, a Charlie Hebdo columnist who survived the attack and is part of the group calling for equal division of the magazine's capital.
“But, at this time we don't really know how that will happen,” he told France Info radio, adding that management had not properly communicated its plans.
– 'Fanciful figures' –
Charlie Hebdo is currently 40 percent owned by the parents of Charb, the former director of the magazine who was killed in the January 7 attack; 40 percent by cartoonist Riss, who was injured during the shooting; and 20 percent by joint manager Eric Portheault.
In its statement management said it wanted to rectify the “fanciful figures that are circulating on the magazine's revenues.”
Its total profits from sales since the attack are estimated at 12 million euros before company tax of 33.33 percent, said the shareholders, reiterating “their absolute commitment to collect no dividend from these sums.”
A lawyer representing the magazine's management earlier told AFP that the donations would go to victims' families, and that proceeds from sales would go into the magazine's coffers and would be used to create a foundation, notably to teach freedom of expression in schools.
Charlie Hebdo was selling 30,000 copies a week before the attack, and its “survivors issue” in the aftermath sold eight million copies, said Christophe Thevenet, a lawyer for the publication.
He said the most recent edition sold 170,000 copies and that circulation was expected to settle at around 100,000.
Cartoonist Riss told Le Monde newspaper that he was open to discussion on dividing Charlie Hebdo's capital, but only in September after it unveils its new format.
“Today, I fear we would take emotional decisions.”