Pino Maniaci: The Truth About The Man Who Fought The Mafia

The Cosa Nostra is an organized crime group that originated in Sicily and now has groups in the different parts of Italy as well as the United States. In the 19th century, mafiosos targeted property owners and extorted them for protection money. Since then, the Sicilian Mafia has grown into an underworld crime empire that deals with various illicit activities. Cosa Nostra members abide by omerta, or code of silence, to show their loyalty. Those who break omerta face torture or execution (via History).

For the majority, submitting to the Italian Mafia is the safest choice. However, there are some, such as Pino Maniaci, who fight for justice and want the mob bosses to pay for their crimes. Maniaci is the chief reporter for Telejato, a small TV station in the Sicilian town of Partinico, that he purchased when it was failing. Throughout the years, Maniaci has been working to uncover mobsters' activities and expose them. According to Smithsonian Magazine, he has been targeted by the Mafia for doing so. Maniaci has received several death threats and was even assaulted in 2008. That didn't deter the reporter, though, and he went on air the very next day, with bruises on his face, to report his attack.

Pino Maniaci is targeted by the Mafia

Throughout the years, Pino Maniaci has dedicated his life to investigating criminal activities in Sicily. In 2014, per The Guardian, his car was set alight outside the Telejato studio, and after that, he found his two beloved dogs hanging from a metal post near his office. He continues to do his investigations despite backlash from the Mafia, and he has been placed under the protection of authorities since 2007. Maniaci's work isn't for naught as he has helped in the capture of many Mafia members. "We've put away tons of Mafioso but there are still many left," he said in an interview with CNN.

Pino Maniaci's quest for exposing the Mafia has become a family affair. Behind the scenes, his son Giovanni serves as the camera operator, while his wife Patrizia is Telejato's station editor. His daughter, Letizia, reports stories just like he does (via Smithsonian Magazine). The TV studio's walls are filled with newspaper articles, photos of Mafia members, and mugshots. Part of his reason for doing his work is his love for Sicily, which he says is a "breathtaking land" but is shadowed by its reputation for being the "land of the Mafia." Maniaci has been the voice of those oppressed by the Mafia and are frightened to speak out. "They're scared of the Mafioso but somebody has to do the dirty work, and I guess that's me," he said.