Giovanni Spampinato was a brilliant and scrupulous newspaper correspondent from Ragusa for l’Ora di Palermo.
He had conducted investigative journalism in Ragusa, Syracuse and Catania on the suspected activities of local neo-Fascists. On February 25th 1972 in Ragusa the builder Angelo Tumino was murdered, a crime that Spampinato covered from the very beginning. His trail led to Roberto Campria, a weapon collector and son of the then president of the city court. In the following months Campria, protesting that he was the victim of absurd suspicions, tried to get exonerated by the journalist. But Giovanni Spampinato continued to write about the unusual nature of the Tumino crime, trafficking in archaeological material, weapons and drugs, the presence of Mafia and important individuals on the run from justice. On the evening of October 27th Campria lured Spampinato, who was 26 years old, to the suburbs and killed him with a revolver. Soon after, he turned himself in by saying that he had acted in a fit of anger because he had been unjustly accused by Spampinato in several articles. The murderer was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment, but served only 8, in a psychiatric prison.
(from Remembrance Day of journalists killed by mafia and terrorism, 2008)
(Update by Dario Barà – 3 May 2020)
Three years after the murder of the journalist Giovanni Spampinato, the Court of Assizes of Syracuse sentenced the culprit of the killing who had pled guilty, Roberto Campria, son of the then president of the Court of Ragusa, Saverio Campria, to 21 years in prison. He had turned himself in immediately after the crime, claiming to have acted in a fit of anger, reacting to Spampinato’s provocations and to the suspicions against him for the killing of Angelo Tumino.
There was silence for a long time about Giovanni Spampinato and his journalism.
1975 – For the murder of Giovanni Spampinato on the 7th July 1975 the Court of Assizes in Syracuse sentenced Roberto Campria, who had pled guilty to the murder, to 21 years in prison.
1977 – On May 7th 1977, the Catania Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to 14 years.
1978 – On the 3rd October 1978 the Supreme Court confirmed the appeal sentence. Roberto Campria spent 8 years in the asylum of Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, before being released.
1995 – The press room of the Palazzo della Provincia di Ragusa is dedicated to Giovanni Spampinato
2007 – Posthumously awarded the Saint-Vincent Prize for Journalism
2007 – The Mario Francese journalism award takes place in Ragusa, as a tribute to Giovanni
2009 – Giovanni Spampinato is remembered together with Mauro De Mauro and Cosimo Cristina on the plaque created by the municipality of Palermo to commemorate Vittorio Nisticò and the newspaper L’Ora.
2010 – The Giovanni Spampinato Cultural Association in Ragusa established , the Spampinato Archive which collects documents, articles, publications, photographs and other items.
2011 – The fifth edition of the “Master qualification in investigative journalism and the analysis of documentary sources” in Milan is named after Giovanni Spampinato.
2011 – The “Ossigeno per l’Informazione” (“Oxygen for Information”) association is born in memory of Giovani Spampinato and of all the journalists killed.
2011 – The name of Giovanni Spampinato, together with those of Giuseppe Impastato, Mauro Rostagno and Cosimo Cristina, is included among the names of the Journalists Memorial, the memorial dedicated to journalists who died on a mission at the Newseum in Washington D.C.
2012 – The press room dedicated to Giovanni Spampinato is reopened inside the Palazzo della Provincia di Ragusa.
2015 – In Minori (Salerno) as part of the ninth edition of the Mediterranean Book Festival , the Prize was awarded posthumously to Giovanni Spampinato.
2017 – The ‘Casa di Giuseppe’ opens in Bagheria, a study centre about journalists killed by the Mafia.
2019 – The sixteenth edition of the Libero Grassi Award is dedicated to Sicilian journalists killed by the Mafia.
2020 – On March 6th a plaque dedicated to the eight journalists killed by the Mafia in Sicily was inaugurated in Palermo, in the premises of the Sicilian Press Association.
• Alberto Spampinato, Il giorno che assassinarono mio fratello, in AA.VV., Vite ribelli, Sperling &Kupfer, 2007
• Alberto Spampinato, C’erano bei cani ma molto seri. Storia di mio fratello Giovanni ucciso per aver scritto troppo, Milano, 2009.
• Luciano Mirone, Gli insabbiati, Storie di giornalisti uccisi dalla mafia e sepolti dall’indifferenza, Roma, 2008.
• UNCI, Giornata della memoria dei giornalisti uccisi da mafie e terrorismo, Roma, 2008.
• Roberto Rossi e Danilo Schininà, Il caso Spampinato. Inchiesta drammaturgica, Ragusa, 2007.
• Carlo Ruta, Morte a Ragusa, Messina, 2004.
• Gianni Bonina, Il triangolo della morte. Tumino, Campria, Spampinato, Ragusa, 1992.