Reporters use laptop computers, iPads and ink and paper to take notes during a panel discussion organized by NetCoalition about the Protection IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 19, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Reporters Without Borders announced Tuesday that 119 journalists were kidnapped and 40 held hostage this year. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This past year saw fewer journalists killed but more kidnapped on the job than last year, according to Reporters Without Borders' annual roundup of abuses against journalists. The France-based nonprofit found that 66 journalists were murdered, 119 abducted and 178 imprisoned in 2014. In 2013, 71 journalists were killed, 87 abducted and 178 imprisoned.

"The Reporters Without Borders roundup for 2014 highlights an evolution in the nature of violence against journalists and the way certain kinds, including carefully staged threats and beheadings, are being used for very clear purposes," read the report.

Journalists' safety has taken the international spotlight over the past few months as the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, released graphic propaganda videos in which militants behead media and aid workers. James Foley, a freelance photographer abducted in Syria in 2012, was the first American victim. ISIS' taped murder of Steven Sotloff, a Time magazine correspondent kidnapped in 2013, followed a few weeks later.

The Reporters Without Borders roundup named territories controlled by ISIS the No. 1 most dangerous area in the world for reporters. Syria was the deadliest place for journalists last year. In 2014, the second most dangerous area was Eastern Libya, where "carrying a camera or a press card takes a lot of courage," according to the roundup. Balochistan, Pakistan, took third place.

Overall, murders were down 7 percent, but abductions were up 37 percent. The number of imprisonments was stable, and journalist arrests were up slightly. The biggest statistical increase came among journalists who left their countries out of fear, which went up 106 percent, most of them out of Libya, Syria and Ethiopia.

The country with the most journalist murders in 2014 was the same as last year's: Syria. China again lead in imprisonments, with 29 in 2014, and Ukraine was No. 1 for kidnappings at 33.

The number of journalists threatened or attacked -- 1,846 -- went down this year from 2013's count of 2,160. Ukraine was the worst perpetrator, followed by Venezuela and Turkey.