August 18, 2000

Gabriel Award for Latino USA Special Rebroadcast of "The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz" is Set

Austin, TX — Latino USA Executive Director Kate Dearborn announced that Maria Emilia Martin, Executive Producer and Correspondent for the program, has been selected as a winner of the prestigious Unda-USA Gabriel Award for her story "Who Were The Torturers? The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz." The special two-part Latino USA series aired in November 1999 on National Public Radio" (NPR). Public radio listeners can hear the special again, when it is rebroadcast on August 18 and 25 on NPR. Check for more information. Martin was recently honored with a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for her story of Sister Ortiz, which she produced while on fellowship with The Kiplinger Public Affairs Program at Ohio State University.

In "The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz," Martin revealed new information, from a former federal agent, about the abduction of a U.S. nun in Guatemala, ten years after she was kidnapped, tortured and raped by individuals she believes were members of the Guatemalan military. The program reported revelations about the U.S. government's involvement with this incident and with repressive Latin American military regimes. Sister Ortiz had accused the U.S. government of suppressing knowledge about her torturers.

"Maria Martin had done an excellent job of demonstrating the most important role public radio plays in America's national dialogue: bringing unheard voices to the ears of listeners around the country and telling stories that otherwise would not have been told," said Bill Davis, Senior Vice-President for Programing at NPR. "Latino USA tells these important stories every week. It is an integral part of NPR's service to the country."

Latino USA is one of a number of prestigious Gabriel recipients, including ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the NBC Nightly News. Winners were selected based in their ability to "raise our consciousness to focus on what is right and good... to provide the world with quality programing which (it) so desperately needs."

"Latino USA is a unique and important program to Latino and non-Latino listeners alike," said Larry Mantle, program director at KPCC-FM in Los Angeles, the second largest Latino market in the US. "This award is well-earned."

Launches in 1993, Latino USA provides diverse audiences with multiple perspectives on issues affecting Latinos, fostering cross-cultural understanding, enhancing relationships among Latino communities, and illuminating the richness of Latino cultural and artistic expression. The program is distributed by NPR and the Longhorn Radio Network to 172 stations in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Radio Bilingüe and the Armed Forces Radio service expand the program's reach to additional listeners and worldwide audiences.

Support for Latino USA is provided by the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Texas at Austin. Special funding for "Who Were the Torturers? The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz" came from The Paul Robeson Fund and The Fund for Investigative Journalism.

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