The "Near v. Minnesota" Supreme Court decision of 1931 protected the rights of the press against unfair censorship previously allowed by state laws, according to ConstitutionFacts.com. Prior to this decision, it was only the federal government that could not impose upon the First Amendment freedom of the press.
The Near v. Minnesota case originated when the government of Minnesota closed J.M. Near’s Saturday Press based on anti-Semitic and racist commentary, according to ConstitutionFacts.com. The decision by the court directed state governments against impeding in the freedom of the press with rare exceptions. This case is widely regarded as groundbreaking in protecting free press rights.