CDT Mourns the Loss of Judith Krug, a Fierce Defender of Free Speech
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2009
CDT, and all Americans who care about free speech and civil liberties, have lost a good friend with the passing of Judith Krug, the Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, the Executive Director of ALA's Freedom to Read Foundation and longtime member and former Chair of CDT's Board of Directors. Judith passed away this past Saturday in Chicago.
Judith Krug dedicated her life to the fight against censorship, not only in libraries but also throughout American life. Once the Internet emerged as a key communications medium in our society, Judith was instrumental in taking the defense of free speech and the First Amendment to the online world. She also chaired the Internet Education Foundation, which helps educate policy makers about the power of an open Internet.
Judith was a principle organizer of the Citizen's Internet Empowerment Coalition that worked with CDT to launch a constitutional challenge to the Communications Decency Act in 1996, in American Library Association v. U.S. Dep't of Justice. That case was consolidated with the ACLU v. Reno case and together went to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark decision that established the merits of free expression on the Internet and provided that speech with the highest level of First Amendment protection. CDT was honored to work with Judith on that challenge.
"Judith was a friend and a colleague and unwavering advocate of free speech," said Jerry Berman, founder and current Board Chair of CDT. "She will be remembered not just for her love of words, but in defense of those words against narrow-minded censors," Berman said. "Her legacy rests in the constitutional challenge that secured the free speech rights for the Internet that we exercise today."
"Judith was an indefatigable defender of the First Amendment. She was a mentor, a friend and stalwart champion of America's core values," said Leslie Harris, CDT's President and CEO. "Her passion and commitment will be missed."