“Shouting fire in a crowded theatre” is a well known paraphrase of a U.S. Supreme Court decision which served as an example of the limitations on free speech, when the speech is imminently dangerous and has no conceivable purpose.   In a world where we have seen real revolutions in part because of digital media, its interesting that everyone today has digital media to amplify whatever noise they’d like to make – good or bad – and can utilize media without a filter.

Its on the backs of Wikileaks pressure by the American government to shut down – including pressuring financial companies not to process payment, threatened prosecutions and the like – that a close friend of mine for many years, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, is all over the media today threatening to sue Twitter for allowing terrorists to use the digital media network. Trust me, I know her – she is smart, focused and ideological – a formidable opponent raising a valid point. If the US government deems these organizations illegal and they cant raise funds – why can they amplify their message freely to Americans ?

Leitner’s organization, The Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, is a civil rights organization dedicated to “combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world.” They have done a lot of good worldwide to fight terrorism via lawfare – utilizing the courtroom to battle Anti-Western interests.  Hezbollah, al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab and others violate American law by using Twitter. A breakdown of terrorists utilizing social media is here.

The ACLU says “the government can’t force private companies to censor lawful speech just because the government doesn’t like the speech or the people making the speech.” Does that mean I can go online and scream fire in a crowded theatre ? Can I behave however I want simply because I am online and hidden behind a computer screen ?

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently cited President Obama as believing that “the more freely information flows, the stronger societies become”, one wonders where the administration will stand if mass rioting was sparked by digital media.  UK authorities say rioters used social networks to coordinate mass civil disobedience earlier this year in London.  State prosecutors in Mexico have accused people of terrorism and sabotage by claiming that their Twitter posts helped spread false rumors about a school attack, leading to real-life violence.

Its no secret that the terrorists are public relations savvy and very concerned with brand and image.  As was recently reported, Al Qaeda is concerned about the baggage associated with that name, and is increasingly going by the name “Ansar al Sharia” because of concern about their brand. Its no secret that American PR Agencies have represented Qaddafi, Assad, and just last year Qatar hired a leading U.S. PR firm to lobby for the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.

Darshan-Leitner stopped the second Gaza flotilla earlier this year, and has won lawsuits against Hamas, Hizbollah and the Palestinian Authority.  I am sure Twitter’s going to be answering this one pretty soon. I’d venture that a modern “fire in a crowded theatre” discussion may be coming to a courtroom near us very soon.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.