Washington: Most of the news outlets that had agreed to sponsor a high-profile business conference in Saudi Arabia have now pulled out following the unexplained disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bloomberg is the latest media organization to withdraw, CNN reported on Saturday.
“Bloomberg will no longer serve as a media partner for the Future Investment Initiative,” a spokesperson said.
“As we do with every major event in the region, we plan to cover any news from our regional news bureau.”
CNN, CNBC and the Financial Times said on Friday that they would not sponsor the conference, which is known as “Davos in the desert”.
Hosted by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud and scheduled to begin on October 23, the event is designed to showcase his Vision 2030 plan to break the country’s dependence on oil.
But some media partners have pulled out as concerns mount over the fate of the prominent Saudi journalist, contributor to the Washington Post and critic of the Saudi regime.
Khashoggi has been missing since October 2 after going to the Saudi consulate general in Istanbul to obtain wedding papers. Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN.
Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in his disappearance.
CNN said in a statement on Friday that it has “withdrawn its participation” in the conference. CNBC said on Twitter that it was pulling out due to “continuing questions” over the journalist’s disappearance.
Finola McDonnell, chief communications and marketing officer at the Financial Times, said on Twitter that the UK newspaper would not partner with the conference while Khashoggi’s disappearance “remains unexplained”.