February 23, 2019

Murray Fromson, Champion of Press Freedom, Dies at 88

He invited J. Anthony Lukas, a reporter for The New York Times, to Sunday brunch in December 1969.

“I proposed to Lukas that we organize a nationwide association of journalists who would fight subpoenas and vigorously defend our First Amendment rights,” Mr. Fromson wrote.

In March 1970, at the two men’s urging, several dozen leading journalists met in Washington and formed the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which in the years since has played a role in hundreds of press freedom cases in state and federal courts and has been an advocate for public right-to-know laws.

“Secrecy, manipulation of the facts, blatant lying, cover-ups and attempts to control what the public sees or reads are tools that the present administration is employing,” Mr. Fromson wrote in 2005, when George W. Bush was president, “all reminders that the fight is far from over.”

Mr. Fromson was born on Sept. 1, 1929, just before the Wall Street crash and the start of the Great Depression. His father, Philip Frankel, owned a taxi business. His mother, Frances (Segal) Frankel, had come to the United States from England at the urging of a sister for what Professor Fromson later described as an arranged marriage.

When the Depression hit, Philip Frankel left for the West Coast in search of work, Derek Fromson and his sister, Aliza Ben-Tal, said in a summary of Professor Fromson’s life. With his mother struggling during the Depression, young Murray was raised in three different foster homes. His parents later reunited for a time, and in 1939 Philip relocated the family to Los Angeles. His parents divorced, his mother remarried, and at 17 Murray formally took the last name of his stepfather, Al Fromson.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/obituaries/murray-fromson-champion-of-press-freedom-dies-at-88.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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