Media giants rebuff Saudi conference over Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance

Media giants rebuff Saudi conference over Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance
The Financial Times, CNN and CNBC are the latest media sponsors to withdraw from an investment conference in Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
12 October, 2018
The Financial Times are the latest to pull out of the investment summit [Getty]


More media giants are boycotting a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month, following the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi last week.

Among the media sponsors and speakers to withdraw their involvement in the event - dubbed "Davos in the Desert" - is the Financial Times, CNN and CNBC.

They were all due to take part in the Future Investment Initiative (FII) between the 23 and 25 October in Riyadh, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a driver of economic change in the kingdom.

It is described on its site as a "platform to drive expert-led debate, discussion, and partnerships among the world’s most visionary and influential leaders in business, government, and civil society".

Given that all evidence around the case of Jamal Khashoggi thus far points at the involvement of the Saudi leadership, a number of business and media figures have pulled their support from Riyadh.

The Economist's editor-in-chief spurned Saudi Arabia's business summit, as well as leading editors and owners of The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.

Uber, Virgin, AOL and others have also pulled their support.

Bloomberg is one of the only Western media groups still slated to appear at the summit, but the business giant has major investments in Saudi Arabia so is believed to be unlikely to withdraw.

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the Arab world's best-known journalists, having fled Saudi Arabia following Mohammed bin Salman's clampdown on perceived critics.

He moved to the US and was a contributor to The Washington Post.

Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to complete paperwork regarding his planned marriage.

He has not been seen since.