The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, IPS and IPS Finland were the joint organisers of "The Role of Media in the Development of the Arab World" seminar held on 23 September 2004 in Helsinki, at which the new IPS Arabic service was launched. The 2004 IPS Support Group Meeting was held as part of the Ministry’s campaign, "A Thousand and One Steps – Arab World and Development 2004".
The Meeting was opened by President Martti Ahtisaari, member of the IPS Board of Trustees, with a public session that attracted over a hundred local, regional and international journalists and communicators. The themes discussed by a prestigious panel of invitees included:
Al–Jazeera’s role vis–à–vis the home audience – does it differ from the one seen by the outside world? The debate was moderated by Mr. Malek Triki, Senior Journalist and Programme Presenter, Al–Jazeera Network.
Al–Hurra’s mission in the Arab world – presented by Mouafac Harb, Editor–in–Chief, Al–Hurra TV Network. Comment by Tapani Hannikainen, Foreign News Correspondent, TV News, Finnish Broadcasting Company/YLE.
Al–Arabiya’s role in the development and the training of a future generation of journalists in the Arab world – presented by Salah Nagm, Editor–in–Chief, Al–Arabiya TV Network.
Arab women and the media – presented by Dr. Awatef Abdel el–Rahman, Dean of Journalism and Mass Communication School, Cairo University. Comment by Ramesh Jaura, Director of the IPS Euro–Mediterranean region.