CJFE Honours Dan Henry with Vox Libera Award

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Media lawyer's career dedicated to defending media freedom

TORONTO, July 10, 2012 - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is honouring renowned media lawyer Dan Henry with the Vox Libera Award, for his life-long commitment to promoting and defending media freedom.

The Vox Libera Award is given to a Canadian who has made an important and sustained contribution to free expression at home or abroad. Dan Henry embodies the spirit of this award. His passion for media freedom and the public's right to know has been demonstrated time and again throughout his illustrious career.

The Award will be presented on December 5 at the 15th annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting.

Henry has worked on many of the most significant cases in Canadian media law. He was involved in almost every major legal battle to extend media coverage of the courts. Before retiring this year after more than three decades as legal counsel for the CBC, Henry helped scores of journalists navigate the legal hurdles involved in bringing difficult and challenging stories to air. He reviewed thousands of stories before broadcast, and directed the defenses of journalists wishing to protect the confidentiality of their sources and stories that were legally challenged.

Among the cases he worked on was Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., resulting in a landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned the broadcast ban on the film The Boys of St. Vincent and is considered to be one of the most important rulings on free expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"One of Henry's on-going campaigns has been to open Canada's court system to the public. He has argued many times before courts and tribunals for an end to rigid prohibitions against cameras in the courts or even on the grounds of a courthouse. This work in itself would have warranted his winning the Vox Libera," said Arnold Amber, President of CJFE.

As award-winning author and CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre wrote, "He worked on some of the most difficult stories the CBC has ever broadcast—many of them legally perilous, many of them in the face of predictable legal consequences. I've never seen him shrink from risk where he believed that the journalism was responsible, fair, and true."

John Gordon Miller, a former Toronto Star senior editor and a former Chair of the School of Journalism at Ryerson University, wrote on his blog, "It's hard to think of another Canadian who has done more to peel back the legal restraints to good journalism, or to get good journalism on the air, than Henry."

Henry is a past President of the Canadian Media Lawyers Association and past Chair of the Media and Communications Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

Previous Vox Libera Award winners include journalist Ron Haggart; The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto; Jim Poling, Managing Editor of the Hamilton Spectator; Alan Borovoy, former General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and Marlys Edwardh, criminal lawyer and civil rights activist.

About CJFE

CJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights.

For further information:
or to speak with Dan Henry or CJFE, please contact:

Jeri Brown
Media Profile
[email protected]

Laura Tribe
416-515-9622 ext. 232
[email protected]