By the end of this month, all publications on the government e-Gazette website will be made available to the public for free, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran.
In a written parliamentary reply to Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera on Monday, Mr Iswaran said these include publications that have been published for more than five days.
The e-Gazette is published daily and includes mainly legislative documents such as government Bills and Acts. Currently, the public can access documents on the website for five days, after which a paid subscription is needed to access the online archive.
This was an agreement between the Government and the licensed publisher, Toppan Leefung, since 1998 when the website was started, explained Mr Iswaran. The company imposes subscription fees to recover the cost of systems procurement, maintenance and operations.
But this arrangement has been reviewed as citizens now get most of their information online, he said, adding: "Government notices should be made more easily accessible to the public."
Government legislation is also available for free on the Singapore Statutes website hosted by the Attorney-General's Chambers.
Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan told The Straits Times yesterday that this was a timely, if not overdue, move.
"It will help keep members of the public better informed. It can also combat misinformation and disinformation," he said.
Explaining that gazette notifications cover a wide variety of areas, he added that they serve the public good and form part of the public record. "It is therefore apt to have them freely available."