Saluting the brave printer of Charlie Hebdo

Jo Francis
Friday, January 9, 2015

Jo Francis ponders events in France.

The first week back at work has turned into a truly dreadful one.

First, the murders at Charlie Hebdo. We’ve had our share of threats at PrintWeek over the years. One of our journalists was once threatened with knee-capping by a particularly dubious individual who took issue with us for writing about his dodgy activities involving ripping off printers.

That is of course very small beer in the light of this week’s events. We’ve never had to make the sort of judgement call involved in deciding to publish something that would knowingly offend the sort of off-the-scale extremists who murder people for transgressing their wrong-headed beliefs.

We’ve never had to be that brave, or indeed had to find a printer brave enough to print something like that for us.

As far as I’m aware none of our national newspapers published any of the offending Charlie Hebdo cartoons after Wednesday’s outrage, which says it all.

Now, as I type, the suspected terrorists are under siege at French signage and graphics printer Création Tendance Découverte, where they have taken someone hostage. What unbelievable bad luck for this business and everyone connected with it.

The only bright spot thus far is that a chap, named only as Didier, turned up for a meeting with his client at the company and was actually allowed to leave by one of the terrorists, who was pretending to be special forces personnel at the time.

Didier is surely the luckiest man alive today, and his escape is the one bright spot as unfolding events in France play out in front of the world’s media.

It’s hard to see a happy outcome. But the power of print will be much in evidence whatever happens – in newspapers around the world over the coming days, and in the massive one million print run planned for Charlie Hebdo magazine next week. 

I salute whoever is printing it for them, and hope they don't also become a target as a result in a world that seems to have gone mad. 


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