October 1993 After the assassination of President Ndadaye in 1993, the country plunges into civil war where the Tutsi- (ethnic minority) dominated government is fighting against Hutu (ethnic majority) rebels.
September 15, 1994 Burundian army soldiers kill a reporter of the National Radio and Television of Burundi, Alexis Bandytuyaga. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, he received death threats from an army unit after reporting about army atrocities in the central part of Burundi in July.
June 17, 1999 The head of the independent press agency Net Press, Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, is arrested after appearing in court on charges that he violated article 22 of the Press Law, which requires newspapers to complete a registration of copyright.
Article 24 of the same law, however, states that press agencies, radio stations and television stations are not required to register their copyright. Justice Ndayiragijie, who is in charge of the case, calls Net Press an "extremist and divisive" news agency.
Kavumbagu is released on June 30 after being held for two weeks without trial.
September 9, 1999 In a speech broadcast on state radio, Col. Alfred Nkurunziza says that the army should consider all journalists as enemies and, therefore, as legitimate targets if they enter the Bujumbura Rurale province near the capital, where the army is fighting Hutu rebels. Nkurunziza accused Radio France Internationale, in particular, for its criticism of his government and, in his opinion, its biased coverage in favor of the local Hutu rebels.
February 2000 After Hutu rebels attack and loot the southeast village of Bugama, the Burundian Army, largely comprised of Tutsi soldiers, kill 37 civilians, including babies, children and women, in an army massacre. Government spokesmen deny the validity of these reports.
April 18, 2001 After Tutsi rebels occupy the premises of Radio Burundi and air a statement denouncing President Pierre Buyoya, a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, the president's loyal troops oust the Tutsi soldiers, who call themselves the Patriotic Youth Front, from the station.
The Tutsi rebels are protesting an agreement between President Buyoya's administration, 10 Tutsi-based political parties and seven ethnic Hutu-based opposition parties, which advocates for political power to be shared between the two ethnicities.
October 2001 The Transitional Assembly adopts a provisional constitution that protects basic rights, including freedom of speech and the press.
January 14, 2002 The government bans The Hutu-owned private news wire service Net Press. Officials claim that "subversive, defamatory, insulting and deceptive" journalism "undermines national unity, order, security and public morality." The government eventually lifts the ban on Feb. 23 after press corps protest.
May 6, 2002 Police attack Aloys Niyoyita, Studio Ijambo reporter and Associated Press stringer, in the capital Bujumbura. The police behave violently with Niyoyita and arrest and detain him while he is reporting on a rally by a group that is opposed to peace in Burundi.
May 17, 2002 The National Communication Council (NCC), which regulates media in Burundi, bans all news outlets from interviewing nonconformists and rebel groups. This decision comes after the Defense Ministry accuses the independent Radio Publique Africaine of harming national security by reporting on details of a planned military operation.
In August, the NCC bans the July issue of the private monthly PanAfrika because it claims that the monthly includes "extremist and subversive" views. This allegation comes after PanAfrika publishes an interview of a former minister who called President Buyoya "a dictator with policies that could bury all Burundians alive."
June 2002 The NCC calls on government authorities to stop harassing and intimidating journalists. The council accuses the state attorney's office of violating press freedom with a news blackout on a police inquiry into the November 2001 killing of Dr. Kassi Manlan, the head of the World Health Organization's local office in Burundi.
March 2003 Buyoya bans all private radio stations from airing interviews and statements from the largest Hutu rebel group, Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD), and the National Liberation Front (FNL) rebel groups who continue to fight.
September 2003 The Ndayizeye-led government closes the popular private station Radio Isanganiro for seven days after it broadcasts a debate featuring Pasteur Habimana, an FNL spokesman. Communications Minister Albert Mbonerane accuses the station of "endangering national unity" by airing the debate. In retaliation for the government's hostile actions against the radio station, three other private radio stations, Bonesha FM, Publique Africaine (RPA) and CCIB FM, announce they will not broadcast any government news or statements until Radio Isanganiro is allowed to function again.
2003 A new media law is passed that provides protection to journalists. Article 8 of the law says journalists cannot be forced to reveal their sources, newspapers no longer have to submit copies to authorities before going on sale, and radio license fees are reduced. The law also includes clauses stating that press offenses such as insulting the head of state will be answered with criminal penalties, including heavy fines and prison sentences.
November 10, 2004 President Ndayizeye dismisses his deputy, Alphonse-Marie Kadege, a day after he expresses his view that the new constitution gives too much power to the country's Hutu majority.
Under the agreement that sets a power-sharing deal, the Tutsi minority will have 40 percent of government and national assembly posts, compared to 60 percent for Hutus.
May 4, 2005 Four senior Burundi police officers are sentenced to death for the 2001 killing of Kassi Manlan. The defense lawyer tells the court that Manlan's murder was linked to his investigations of corruption allegations. Manlan was probing reports that money meant to aid Burundi's fight against malaria had been misused by government officials.
Those sentenced to death are the former chief of security police, the ex-deputy director of public intelligence services, a former director of Burundi's main jail and a former top intelligence officer at the mayor's office.
After Manlan was murdered in November 2001, RPA began broadcasting its findings in early 2002. Despite the fact that the police had made several arrests related to the case, RPA asserted that the real killers were still not arrested. In response, other media outlets began probing the case as well and found that the murder was linked to the embezzlement of development funds by a senior politician.
In May of 2002, government authorities tried to shut down RPA and prohibit it from investigating the murder, asserting the media were banned from discussing criminal cases that were not closed yet.
February 28, 2005 Burundi holds its first democratic elections, in which Pierre Nkurunziza wins as president. His government takes office under a new constitution that is adopted by more than 90 percent of voters at a referendum. It guarantees power sharing between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.
2006 In violation of international law, the government holds dozens of children associated with the FNL and the Hutu rebel groups in prison and demobilization centers. Its lack of clear policy on children adversely affects the reception of international aid.
An informal commission established under the terms of the Arusha peace accords of 2000 identifies more than 4,000 people as "political prisoners" and orders them free. Most were convicted of crimes related to the violence that followed President Ndadaye's assassination in 1993, or were held without trial. Despite the fact that the government claims the releases are provisional and the prisoners will face a proposed truth and reconciliation commission (TRC), civil society members protest and bring a case before the Constitutional Court alleging that the release goes against the constitution. The court nevertheless rules in favor of the government.
May 2006 Terence Nahimana, a peace activist, is arrested on charges of threatening state security. This allegation arises after he writes a letter to President Nkurunzi, asking him about the delay in peace talks with the rebel groups fighting the government. Government authorities claim that the letter could have provoked a negative response from the public, according to Human Rights Watch.
September 5, 2006 Vice President Alice Nzomukunda resigns from office because of problems with corruption and human rights abuses of the administration. She tells the BBC that her decision stems from problems of security, of not respecting the law, the mismanagement of state funds and violation of human rights laws.
September 22, 2006 The president of the Observatory for the Fight Against Corruption and Economic Embezzlement (OLUCOME), Gabriel Rufyiri, is arrested on charges of defaming a businessman by reporting his allegedly illegal dealings. OLUCOME objected to the irregular terms of sale of a presidential airplane for less than the maximum bid of US$2 million.