Prisma was born in 1971 by a non-profit organization, Institute of Research, Education and Illumination of Economics and Social Science (LP3ES), in Jakarta. Despite its academic tendencies, Prisma is called a magazine, not a journal, because the founders decided they did not want their publication to be rigidly segmented like a journal, but to have a wider readership.
The old Prisma, born into a developing, centralized era of modernization, became an intellectual benchmark, thanks in part to its rigorous editing.
"My article was edited twice and I was told it was good already. I heard that someone had their article edited nine times," Trade Minister Mari Pangestu, once a prolific contributor to Prisma, said in her speech at the magazine's launch in June.
For intellectuals in the 1980s, Mari added, Prisma was the only serious magazine you had to get published in.
Run by Aswab Mahasin, Ismet Hadad, and Daniel Dhakidae, Prisma, a bimonthly publication, promoted young intellectuals fresh from reputable universities abroad.
The most popular issue of Prisma, with 25,000 copies sold, was published in 1977, with the title Manusia dalam Kemelut Sejarah (Humans in Times of Change). The issue featured biographies of national figures who were at that time deemed controversial, among them nationalist activist Tan Malaka and founding president Sukarno.
At a time when freedom of ex
"Once, the editors of Prisma were summoned by Deppen *the Information Ministry* because we published articles written by former Buru Island political prisoners, the communists," Daniel said.
He explained that the editorial decision was made merely out of respect to Sudomo, then the Commander of the Command for Restoration of Security and Public Order (Pangkokamtib). In the late 1970s, Sudomo released thousands of Buru prisoners, telling the press at the time that all prisoners who were professionals would be allowed to resume their occupation.
"Writers, for example, could write again, that's what Sudomo said. So we said to the ministry that we were merely following Pak Sudomo's wishes," Daniel said, laughing at the memory. "After all, Prisma was not an underground publication."
That kind of independent political stance earned the magazine a certain cache among students in the 1980s: Prisma became the "in" magazine for a cool student to be seen with.
"At that time, we were educated through Prisma," said Eko Harry Susanto, dean of the communications school at Tarumanagara University.
But during the 1990s, Prisma's quality began to deteriorate, and it finally gave up the ghost in 1998, the same year the New Order regime was toppled. Nevertheless, many university students continued to seek out back issues of Prisma. Secondhand bookshops bound the magazines, with the bound versions highly sought after. Having Prisma on one's bookshelf still lent a budding intellectual a certain desirable image.
During an era where freedom of ex
The new Prisma is no longer funded by FNS but by LP3ES. It also accepts advertising, with some of the ads in the first issue of 2009 placed by PT Pos Indonesia, Fox Indonesia Strategic & Political Consulting and Bank BTN.
Daniel said Prisma's policy on advertisements was the same as for any commercial media outlet; the magazine would receive ads, but would stay true to its own principles and position.
The format of the print Prisma is more or less similar to the original, keeping the dimensions and the typeface of the original masthead. An issue of the new magazine will be published once every three month, with a retail price of Rp 30,000. -
- JP/Evi Mariani
Source : The JakartaPost