Alun Jones (Lord Chalfont)

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Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones (born 5 December 1919), known as Alun Chalfont or Lord Chalfont is a British politician and right wing operative.

He was a Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1964 to 1970 and appointed to the Privy Council in the former year. He also authored several military history books regarding various subjects, including the Napoleonic Wars.

Having been created Baron Chalfont of Llantaruam in the County of Monmouthshire on 11 November 1964, his life peerage is the most senior extant, and Lord Chalfont is higher in the order of precedence than several hereditary barons whose inherited titles postdate his.

He contributed an article on The Strategic Defence Initiative to the Conservative Monday Club's October 1985 Conservative Party Conference issue of their newspaper, Right Ahead.

Lord Chalfont is a former chairman of the Radio Authority which regulated commercial radio in the UK until its role was absorbed by Ofcom. Lord Chalfont set up the Institute for the Study of Terrorism with Jillian Becker in 1985. He is also a former non-executive director at Shandwick (circa 1988).[1]

Views on the media

Chalfont is a keen devotee of the view that terrorism depends on the media. In 1990 he wrote 'the first point to be grasped is that terrorism would be impotent without publicity. It depends for its effect upon dramatic impact in order to compel and hold public attention.[2]

Such views are issued in tandem with demands that the broadcasters abandon impartiality and declare and open commitment to the state in covering political violence. For Chalfont, the tendency of the media:

is to search for some kind of bogus intellectual objectivity and to regard the terrorist on the one hand, and the police officer or soldier on the other, as two sides of a morally symmetrical confrontation. In publications of otherwise impeccable respectability, the phrase 'state of violence' is used to describe military or police action against violent subversives and terrorists. This language often results from the sheer incapacity to distinguish between an attack by a violent minority on the institutions of a democratic state and the right of that state to defend itself against such an attack. This absence of differentiation is demonstrated by the frequent television appearances of terrorists and the spokespeople of the organisations that sponsor them, who are allowed to disseminate their violent propaganda with the same freedom as a candidate for parliament addressing his or her constituency.[3]

Writing in 1987 in his book Defence of the Realm, Chalfont argued that broadcasters in particular should declare openly for 'liberal democracy' as opposed to for any particular government. If 'state control and censorship of the press' is to be avoided, he wrote, 'the media must recognise that while they need hold no loyalty to any government, they do have a clear responsibility to society. Part of that responsibility lies in a readiness to defend, endorse and propagate the values of liberal democracy.'(emphasis in original)[4]

Chalfont's view of the actual performance of the media is that it tends to the irresponsible and fails to support the government or the military when it should. He notes that Television coverage of the Falklands/Malvinas adventure 'was less traumatic than that of the American war in Vietnam, partly 'because it was, to the fury of many media people, kept more firmly under control'.[5] The censorship regime imposed by the Ministry of Defence evidently met wih Chalfont's approval. 'Even so', he writes 'there was at least one well-authenticated occasion on which media coverage of a projected operation placed the lives of British troops at risk. Indeed, senior military officers go as far as to say that casualties were actually caused by the irresponsibility of a small minority of reporters'.[6] Typically Chalfont sees fit not to identify the 'well-authenticated' incident or to give more than a general source for this story beyond 'senior officers'.

On the attack by Norman Tebbitt on the BBC in 1986 over the US bombing of Libya, Chalfont has this to say:

most objective observers would agree that the BBC's coverage of the American bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi left something to be desired in the way of objectivity, impartiality and responsibility'[7]

Note the use of the term 'objective' which Chalfont evidently thinks applies to himself and all similar thinking people.



Publications, External links, Notes


  • Chalfont, A. (1987) Defence of the Realm, London: Collins.
  • Chalfont, A. (1990) 'Terrorism and International Security' in Y. Alexander and R. Latter (eds) Terrorism and the Media: Dilemmas for Government, Journalists and the Public, Washington:Brassey's



  • William Clark Alun Chalfont, Pink Industry, accessed 10 December 2009.


  1. British American Tobacco, Note from Peter Gummer giving details of Shandwick plc and David Sloboms proposed job, 6 July 1988, accessed 19 Feb 2010
  2. Chalfont (1990) 'Terrorism and International security', in Y. Alexander and R. Latter (eds) Terrorism and the Media: Dilemmas for government, Journalists and the Public, Washington DC: Brassey's: p. 18
  3. Chalfont (1990) 'Terrorism and International security', in Y. Alexander and R. Latter (eds) Terrorism and the Media: Dilemmas for government, Journalists and the Public, Wahsington DC: Brassey's: p.19
  4. Chalfont, A. (1987) Defence of the Realm, London: Collins. p. 162-3
  5. Chalfont, A. (1987) Defence of the Realm, London: Collins. p. 160
  6. Chalfont, A. (1987) Defence of the Realm, London: Collins. p. 160
  7. Chalfont, A. (1987) Defence of the Realm, London: Collins. p. 160