The New York Times has not canceled its vacation packages to Saudi Arabia, despite reports that a journalist who recently went missing was murdered in a Saudi consulate.
Part of the paper’s “Journeys” program, interested participants can join journalists and editorial board members for a two-week journey throughout the country.
At a starting price of $11,000, travelers will receive airfare, food, five-star accommodations and guided itinerary throughout the Middle-Eastern nation.
“Oil transformed the Arabian Peninsula, bringing wealth into a region steeped in tradition and heightening tensions with oil-dependent Western nations. On this 10-day journey accompanied by New York Times journalists, learn more about Saudi Arabia, on the cusp of change. Explore the conservatism that still grips Saudi Arabia (women, you may need to bring a head scarf), then see the modern architectural gem that is Abu Dhabi,” reads a description of the trip on the paper’s website.
Yet the trip comes in the midst of the Turkish government concluding that Washington Post contributor and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi was killed in late September at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The U.S., however, has not officially confirmed if he is alive or not. (RELATED: Prominent Saudi Journalist Reportedly Killed In ‘Pre-Planned’ Murder At Consulate In Turkey)
“If the reports of Jamal’s murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act,” said Fred Hiatt, the director of WaPo’s editorial page, in a statement. “Jamal was — or, as we hope, is — a committed, courageous journalist. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom. He is respected in his country, in the Middle East and throughout the world. We have been enormously proud to publish his writings.”
TheNYT even published an editorial Monday entitled “Saudi Arabia Must Answer for Jamal Khashoggi.”
The editorial goes on to criticize President Donald Trump for his close and “coddled” relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and noted that “there has been no official administration protest.”
“Yet whatever happened, it’s scandalous that an outspoken journalist should disappear without a trace. A free press remains the surest defense against tyranny, and it’s a tragic sign of our times that so many courageous journalists are repressed, imprisoned or killed, and that their oppressors act with impunity,” TheNYT said in its editorial.
Still, TheNYT appears to be going ahead with its three separate trips, not including private packages. The first excursion, which is sold out, begins Nov. 6 with the last departing Nov. 5, 2019.
Neither TheNYT or WaPo responded to a request for comment.
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