If you or your company are in a sticky situation, disclose information in a timely manner. Timely disclosure today means immediately.
The Firestone/Bridgestone tire scandal broke in late 2001 and early 2002. However, the company knew the tires involved were unreliable in 1997, and perhaps as early as 1991, according to trial lawyers.
Withholding the information - even if the company is trying to define the problem as narrowly as possible and find a solution - often gives the public the perception that the problem is serious and far-reaching. In the West Virginia tragedy at Saco Mine, not disclosing information in a timely manner caused families to believe that most of the workers' lives had been saved, when, in fact, all but one of the miners died.