Accounting regulators debated whether Apple’s concealment of the health situation of their CEO, Steve Jobs in 2009 constituted accounting fraud as his particular health situation can be considered material information for investors of the company. Here, releasing information about Jobs’ health, an inherently private piece of information, may actually have more advantages than drawbacks. Therefore, it should be released to the public for broader benefit.
It can be said that there is a small gap between what constitutes private and public information with regards to public figures. Public figures have willingly chosen this profession which is bound to put them and their private lives into the limelight. To address the moral and right to privacy, a sincere judgment needs to be made on the part of the media based on a utilitarian analysis (Gauthier, 2002).
If the advantages of a particular release of information are seen as causing greater benefit than harm, then it should be divulged. Perhaps this requires a tremendous burden to editors, reporters, and news people who will be making this judgment what elements are need to be considered. It is by no means a foolproof method that could result in questionable decisions. However, this is the choice that public figures have willingly made and it comes with certain costs. In sum, public figures should accept a certain amount of private information revelation but the press also should consider standards based on Gauthier’s ethical model.
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