Journalists and technicians have gone on strike at Tunisia's oldest newspaper publisher, claiming the new director is compromising the independence of its French- and Arabic-language publications.

The strike Tuesday was the first such action since Jan. 2011, when Tunisia freed itself of autocratic ruler President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. On Wednesday, a strike at two state-run TV channels gets underway to protest controversial nominations.

The Dar Assabah group, which publishes Le Temps and Assabah, was once run by Sakher Materi, a son-in-law of Ben Ali, now living in exile. Its new director, Lotfi Touati, is a former director in the security services.

A spokesman for the Tunisian branch of the International Exchange for Freedom of Expression said "the fight for the freedom of the press starts at Dar Assabah."